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Rent Control Update 11-15-2021 Tags: Government Affairs

St. Paul and Minneapolis both had Rent Control on the ballot, and both passed within a relatively close margin. St. Paul’s ballot measure passed with 30,000 yes-votes and 27,000 no-votes. Minneapolis passed with 75,000 yes-votes and 66,000 no-votes, this equates to 52% support and 47% oppose. Realtors® had joined a coalition to defeat the ordinances and made considerable progress in terms of motivating turnout and making the case to ‘Think Twice’ about Rent Control. Yet to the electorate, the concept of Rent Control on its surface understandably sounds like an overdue solution to a very real problem facing renters in the cities (click here for more information on MAR’s opposition to these policies). Though the ballot questions ultimately passed, Realtors® now have a critical seat at the discussion table in terms of what the ordinances will look like in practice.

There are differences between the St. Paul and Minneapolis ballot measures, and both raise many questions about how these changes could take place. Below are some notes about Rent Control as it stands now.

Rent Control – St. Paul/Minneapolis

  • The St. Paul Charter includes provisions by which a recently adopted ballot initiatives cannot be repealed or substantively changed for one year following its success on the ballot. This is to prevent ‘yo-yo policy making’ or ‘bait and switch.’
  • Effective Date is not certain. Is it 30 days after passage per the city charter (generally) or as the question stated, May 1, 2022?
  • Mayor Carter has now stated he is open to exempting new construction. It’s also not clear how quickly that change could be effectuated (up to a full year).
  • We anticipate Rent Control Advocates will ask Minneapolis to match St. Paul’s restrictive 3% cap. But Minneapolis will be bringing the question to the council table because the passage in Minneapolis did not contain specific policy provisions. How Minneapolis will approach it is yet to be seen.