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Massachusetts poll shows support for local option rent control



Chris Lisinski

Nearly three decades after Massachusetts voters banned the policy, a majority of likely voters here would support a ballot question once again allowing cities and towns to implement rent control, a new poll found.

The online poll conducted by Change Research found support for reviving the local option outnumbered opposition more than two to one among likely voters, with 65 percent saying they would definitely or probably vote yes and 25 percent saying they would definitely or probably vote no on a 2024 ballot question “that would give cities and towns the ability to institute rent control.”

No initiative petition has been filed to date dealing with the rent control ban, but petitioners have until early August to submit a proposal if they plan to bring the issue back to voters again in 2024.

A majority of voters also backed Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s “rent stabilization” home rule petition seeking state approval to cap most annual rent increases in the city at no more than 10 percent in high-inflation years. Sixty-eight percent said they approve the measure Wu filed with the City Council, compared to 22 percent who oppose it.

The idea of bringing back some form of rent control has ignited a charged debate on Beacon Hill and in City Hall. The Greater Boston Real Estate Board plans to launch a $400,000 campaign against the measure, arguing it would slow needed housing development. To take effect, Wu’s plan would need to win approval from the City Council, state Legislature and Gov. Maura Healey.

Top House and Senate Democrats and Healey have shown little interest in reauthorizing rent control, which was banned by a 1994 ballot question.

Change Research conducted the poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent, on behalf of political firm Northwind Strategies. Pollsters surveyed 711 likely voters between Feb. 20 and Feb. 23.



  1. J.cardoza

    March 7, 2023 at 10:15 pm

    If you think the rents are high now, wait. If it passes the rents will go up substantially before it takes effect. Should the apartment becomes available for rent watch what the rent will be. These people have no idea how much it really cost to maintain.

  2. HuntersCrackPipe

    March 7, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    Pure Insanity! Socialism should not be implemented with the votes of those who hold no stake or ownership in real estate holdings. This is a fascist move by psychopathic liberals.

  3. Dr David

    March 8, 2023 at 12:30 am

    it has been proven in all cities that instituted rent control that there is no faster way to destroy the both the quality and availability of rental housing.

  4. Like Star Willie

    March 8, 2023 at 8:20 am

    Glad I got out of MA when I did. Praying for my family and friends left behind. What was once a prosperous state is deteriorating rapidly.

  5. Lord of Land

    March 8, 2023 at 8:45 am

    As a landlord, I would love to see rent control happen. There is no better way to maximize what I can charge. On top of that, my days of renovating units would be over.

    CA has yearly capped increases of 5% – 10%. When the unit is vacated, the landlord can re-rent for whatever they want. Plus, once the unit is re-rented at the highest rate, the market will allow tenants who won’t want to move no matter how little I do because the supply will be so restricted.

    I’m begging Fall River to implement rent control.

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