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Mayor Wu announces rent stabilization committee as prices skyrocket

News Boston
FILE - Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.
FILE - Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

In the midst of increasingly high rent prices, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced the creation of a Rent Stabilization Advisory Committee to research and suggest policies to help renters remain in the city.

The committee, which is made up of housing advocates, developers, tenants, and other stakeholders, will study local housing conditions, as well as the structure and outcomes of rent stabilization programs in other cities, the Mayor’s Office wrote in a news release.

The news release said that the committee will meet monthly throughout 2022 and create a list of recommendations on how to stabilize Boston rents and protect tenants from displacement that will then be presented to Mayor Wu and the Mayor’s Office of Housing in time for the next state legislative session.

According to the release, almost 65% of Bostonians are renters, and more than half of them spend more than 30% of their monthly income on rent. This makes them vulnerable to housing instability and unable to save up money.

“The majority of Boston residents and families are renters. If we aren’t willing to take on the rent increases that are driving families out of Boston, then we aren’t meeting the needs of our neighborhoods,” Mayor Wu said in the news release.

The news release also said that the 2020 Census showed that Black families are leaving the city, with the non-Hispanic Black population citywide falling by over 6% between 2010 and 2020.

Mayor Wu said in the release that rent stabilization measures allow municipalities to set limits on annual rent increases for existing tenants and other tenant protections which help preserve mixed-income neighborhoods and prevent renters from being priced out of their communities.

Wu also said that rent stabilization is a short-term measure that can be used in tandem with longer-term measures that will tackle housing supply and affordability.

Mayor Wu’s announcement comes as the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the highest one-month rent increase since 1987. Between January and February 2022, rent increased by 0.6%, BisNow reported.