Letter from the Executive Director for March 2023: Thank Members and Property Rights Supporters
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In February, we worked extremely hard to educate and oppose in the debate over Boston’s rent control proposal. But the policy news isn’t all bad. We now have a lot of co-sponsors on our deleading bill. Thank goodness for our long-time members, and also for members who donate extra for property rights support, who make this possible.
As we’ve detailed in this edition, the mayor of Boston has filed a proposal for rent control. In a nutshell, it means second-generation rent control boards unlike the objective system used in Oregon. It also means eviction restrictions.
It’s a “bootleggers and Baptists” moment, as Legislative Affairs Counsel Peter Vickery described to members at our Feb. 21 policy event. On the one hand, we have the progressive left working toward rent control to Band-Aid the housing crisis. Like the Baptists of the Prohibition era, they’re supporting it because they believe in it. Then, on the other hand, we have the developers supporting rent control because they live on tear-downs. Like the bootleggers of Prohibition, they’re supporting it because they see opportunity in a regulated market. Also, might I mention, their tremendous splashing around of campaign donations seems to have granted developers massive exemptions in the proposed rent control scheme.
I would have preferred not to be opposing either group. We’re in total agreement with progressives that no one should be homeless. That’s why we’re suing the state over rental assistance. And we’re in total agreement that we need greater freedom to knock down and rebuild. That’s why we’ve consistently advocated for zoning reform.
Unfortunately on this matter, the mayor was ill advised not to invite us or any other residential landlord to her advisory committee. The plan that she allowed to be produced is assailable from multiple perspectives. And indeed, at the City Council committee hearing on Feb. 22, it was.
At our board meeting on Feb. 22, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to litigate against the City of Boston for access to public records. We know there was influence peddling. We want to see who, where and how much. This shows we’re miffed. It’s also a prelude to a challenge under the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Rent control has wicked disparate impact, as we discuss in this edition as well.
Meanwhile our deleading bill awaits committee assignment. To the great credit of a lot of members, and MassLandlords staff, we now have 16 co-sponsors for 193 HD.2630 and 12 co-sponsors in the Senate for 193 SD.862. These bills would increase our deleading credit to $15,000 per unit.
MassLandlords’ work benefits owners, managers and service providers of rental housing across the industry. Please join as a member, become a property rights supporter or increase your level of support.