NAA Research Bolsters Testimony Against Rent Control

Posted By: Denise Hanzlik Industry, SDMHA Resources,

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On January 11, 2022, the National Apartment Association (NAA) joined the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) to testify before the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing. The Committee holds public hearings every other year organized by topic. The semi-annual hearing on landlord-tenant issues included twenty bills on various issues including legislation to reinstitute rent control in Massachusetts.

Paula Munger, NAA’s Assistant Vice President, Industry Research and Analysis, testified before the Committee to underscore the damaging economic consequences of rent regulation on communities. Kathleen Franco, Chair-Elect of GBREB, and GBREB CEO Greg Vasil joined Munger before the Committee. In her remarks, Munger highlighted new NAA modeling that reveals the repercussions that a three percent rent cap would have in Boston. Among the key findings were that:

  • Apartment supply would drop by more than 700 units per year
  • Apartment property values would drop by more than $260 million
  • Property tax revenue to the City of Boston would drop by more than $2 million annually

Further, the research revealed that should the same rent cap be enacted statewide:

  • Apartment property values would drop by more than $820 million
  • Property tax revenue to cities and towns would drop by more than $7 million annually

The stark findings of this report underscore what economists have reiterated for decades: rent control ultimately does the opposite of what it intended to. Instead of addressing housing affordability, rent regulation decreases already-limited supply, plummets property values and significantly reduces tax revenue that benefits local communities. As NAA President and CEO Bob Pinnegar stated in testimony submitted to the Committee, "imposing artificial and arbitrary limitations on rents interferes with the market’s ability to naturally respond to changing economic forces. Rent control destabilizes the rental market and decreases affordability." For an industry whose apartments and residents contribute $61 billion to Massachusetts’ economy annually and support more than 268,000 jobs, the impacts of rent regulation would be detrimental for both residents and housing providers alike.

As recently as July of 2020, rent control was defeated in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, with 136 of the 160 members in recorded opposition and only 23 supporting. The members who voted in opposition to that measure are still in office as members of the 192nd General Court and there is no indication they plan to change their votes.

As lawmakers in Boston and around the country increasingly consider short-term solutions like rent regulation, NAA, alongside its affiliate partners like GBREB, is committed to advocating against these measures and rather for responsible remedies that ultimately address the nation’s housing affordability crisis.

Key Takeaways

  • On January 11, NAA and GBREB testified against rent control before the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing.
  • NAA research reveals a rent cap would have detrimental impacts in Boston and across Massachusetts.
  • NAA will continue to advocate strongly against rent regulation, working instead to promote sustainable and responsible solutions that address housing affordability.

To learn more about rent regulation, please contact Ben Harrold, NAA's Manager of Public Policy or visit our rent regulation policy issue page. For information on the newest research tools on rent regulation, please contact Leah Cuffy, NAA’s Research Analyst.