At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, councilmembers will vote on whether to advance a rent stabilization policy ordinance to the Business, Inspections, Housing & Zoning Committee. The committee process allows for a public hearing and negotiating on the policy language before returning it to the full City Council. At that point, the Council will vote on whether to put the policy on the ballot for the November 2023 election.

Unless Mayor Jacob Frey vetoes it. After the May 25 council meeting where the rent stabilization ordinance was initially passed, Frey declared that he planned to veto the proposed ordinance, but was unable to do so that early in the process. Now, a group is asking the mayor to negotiate with the City Council over rent stabilization.

Home to Stay Minneapolis is a coalition of “organizations and unions representing thousands of Minneapolis residents across race, income and zip code” including United Renters For Justice/Inquilinxs Unidxs Por Justicia, ISAIAH, SEIU, Jewish Community Action, and Unidos MN. Their goal is to get a rent stabilization policy on the ballot in November 2023.

The coalition is also putting pressure on the City Council. Earlier in the month, Home to Stay held a rally outside of City Hall calling on councilmembers to negotiate to ensure a rent stabilization policy of some sort goes before voters in November.

“Rent stabilization responds to the immediate need of renters,” Communications Director of Home to Stay Maria Bertrand said.

Bertard said the coalition works with tenants who are facing rent increases whose salaries don’t match those rent increases. “We have a large base of tenants who really need rent stabilization,” Bertrand said.

One strategy to get the rent stabilization policy ordinance on the ballot is through a veto-proof City Council vote. A “majority” City Council vote is nine votes which is also considered a “veto-proof vote.” If the mayor vetoes the rent stabilization policy ordinance when it comes before the council on August 17, it would go back to the City Council. Nine councilmembers would have to vote for the ordinance again for the veto to be overridden.

In a rent stabilization analysis report from City leaders presented to City Council in April, findings suggested that a rent stabilization policy would not “target relief to renters whose incomes are insufficient to afford rent in the housing market” and “would also impede growth of the city’s housing stock.”

In research done by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs in 2021 about existing rent stabilization efforts across the country, researchers found that rent regulations have been “effective at maintaining below-market rent levels” and “little empirical evidence shows that rent control policies negatively impact new construction. Construction rates are highly dependent on localized economic cycles and credit markets.”

If the rent stabilization policy ordinance is voted through to the Business, Inspections, Housing & Zoning  Committee, they will meet next on July 11 to start the public hearing and policy editing processes.