RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

APR 2019

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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RISMedia's REAL ESTATE April 2019 13 {Policy Matters} I n response to a growing afford- able housing crisis throughout the U.S., state and local govern- ments are considering adopt- ing various rent control measures. The National Association of REAL- TORS® (NAR) opposes rent control and rent stabilization laws on both residential and commercial proper- ties, as these measures do nothing to address residential construction deterrents like misguided local zon- ing measures and high land costs. Instead, rent control policies create political battles between landlords and tenants without addressing the root of—and possible solutions to— America's affordability problems. In 2017, following the consid- eration of various local-level rent control ballot initiatives in Califor - nia, an NAR Working Group formed policy related to rent control regula - tions. Most of the ballot measures in 2016 originated in the San Fran - cisco Bay Area, including: Alameda (Measure L1, passed; Measure M1, defeated); Burlingame (Mea - sure R, defeated*); East Palo Alto (Measure J, passed); Mountain View (Measure V, passed; Mea - sure W, failed); Oakland (Measure JJ, passed); Richmond (Measure L, passed); and San Mateo (Measure Q, defeated*). Last year, California voters reject - ed a statewide measure that would have overturned the Costa Hawkins Act, which establishes limits on lo - cal rent control laws. Costa Hawkins ensures that buildings first occu - pied after 1995 are not subject to rent control regulations. Further, the law provides an avenue for vacancy decontrol, which gives building own - ers an opportunity to rehab facilities and establish new, fair market rates with new tenants. From Portland, Maine, to Portland, Ore., several jurisdictions have con - sidered rent control regulations over recent years. Most states preempt local governments from adopting rent control measures in any form. In the states where rent control is permitted (California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and the Dis - trict of Columbia), local jurisdictions are able to regulate rental rates based off specific parameters writ - ten within the state law, like with the aforementioned Costa Hawkins Act in California. Over recent years, Hawaii, Michi - gan, Minnesota and Washington, among others, have considered legislation repealing prohibitions of rent control, although none suc - cessfully. The most significant con- cerns are in states whose legisla- tures revisit rent control laws year after year. States such as California and New York see regular efforts to expand the reach of rent control to include just-cause eviction require - ments and/or landlord-tenant relo- cation fees. Illinois and Oregon have also re - visited legislation to repeal existing bans on rent control, and have the political support to pass legislation this year. Oregon will be the first state to enact a statewide rent con - trol law that requires local govern- ments to incorporate rent control regardless of whether or not a hous - ing shortage exists. This is unique, however, as most states allow local governments to decide if rent con - trol is necessary. In Illinois, lawmak- ers are considering repealing exist- ing rent control prohibitions, as well as creating a state regulatory body to oversee rent control regardless of housing supply. If states are successful in eas - ing rent control restrictions, NAR is concerned that residential rentals in those areas will lose value while both property tax assessments and bases will also decrease, forcing other property owners to eventu - ally pay more in taxes or fees as a result. Ultimately, rent control discourages the production of new rental dwellings in the private sec - tor, and NAR is committed to fight- ing against these laws across the country. Learn more about how NAR is partnering with state and local REALTOR® associations to engage communities about housing afford - ability and supply at https://realtor- party.realtor/state-local-issues/is- sues/housing-supply-shortage. RE *NAR's Issues Mobilization program assisted local REALTOR® associations in defeating the proposals in Burlingame and San Mateo. Adriann Murawski is NAR's State & Local Government Affairs representative. Rent Control Cannot Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis This column is brought to you by the NAR Real Estate Services group. by Adriann Murawski

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