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Special Report

Boston Rent Control

April 2022

Rent Control Debate Heats Up in Boston

The prospect of rent-regulating legislation raises concerns. Apartment rent control discussions are occurring across the country and have the potential to notably alter the nation’s multifamily investment landscape. The inability to raise rents in line with rapid cost increases creates numerous issues for multifamily properties, apartment renters and investors. By artificially limiting future potential income, rent controls can dissuade development. The imposition of rent regulating measures may also prompt property owners to convert rentals to for-sale condominiums. Both outcomes constrain inventory, which runs counter to the common objective of rent control legislation to provide for more, affordable housing options. The impact of rent regulations on property operations may also impact the individual outlook and quality of properties over time. As such, investment flows could shift geographically. Capital might move away from the places with the most stringent regulatory restrictions, even in the face of robust rental demand drivers, and toward locations that offer more open market environments. Any or all of these factors could come into play in the city of Boston, which is now considering implementing rent regulations.

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