Portland landlords have put a measure on the November ballot that will allow landlords to gouge the rent on over 9,000 tenants previously protected by rent control.
The initiative, if passed, means every tenant who lives in an apartment run by a landlord with fewer than 10 units will now have to pay whatever the landlord wants. Current law will limit rent increases in 2024 to less than 2%. If Question A passes, a landlord could raise your rent 20%, 50%, 100% or even triple what you pay now if they could find someone to pay it. Whatever they choose. Vote No on A this November.
What Can I Do?
Find out if your unit will be kicked off of rent control if Question A passes.
Tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, hook-ups, parents, etc. about what Question A will do to their rent and the rent of thousands of your neighbors.
What Else Should I Know about Question A?
What would Question A do?
In a nutshell, Question A will eliminate rent control protections for every tenant in Portland who lives in an apartment that is owned by a landlord who owns fewer than 10 units. We estimate that is around 4,300 units housing over 9,000 people.
That means, if QA passes, the landlords of those units will be able to raise the rent on their tenants by as much as they want. As many times a year as they want. No matter what.
It also means landlords will be desperate to get under the 10 unit cap, meaning many units now expected to be protected, will also lose protection as landlords divide ownership among family members, business partners, or dark money LLC’s where it is almost impossible to determine whether the owners are tied to other properties.
Will l lose rent control protections?
We have a list you can search here to see if your unit will lose rent control protections if QA passes in November. However, we caution that units not on this list may also lose protection if landlords try to split up the ownership structure or hide their identities behind dark money LLC’s which are hard to track. That said, if your apartment is on this list, it is highly likely your landlord will be able to start doubling your rent in 2024.
Are landlords really unable to invest in properties if they aren’t allowed to raise rents as much as they want?
Of course not. In fact, the current law allows landlords to get automatic increases annually at 70% of the rate of inflation. That allows them to fully recoup the costs they have for general maintenance of the building. Plus, if they invest in larger capital improvement, they can go to the rent board to ask for much larger increases that will be spread out over multiple years.
Landlords say rent control “doesn’t work,” is this true?
The literature and research are clear: rent stabilization works to keep people housed, units affordable, communities intact, and it produces better economic outcomes for people living in stabilized apartments.
Does rent control hurt the quality of our existing housing stock?
The existing law still allows landlords to go to the Rent Board to ensure they are receiving a fair return on investment, balancing concerns that rent stabilization won’t allow landlords to keep up with maintenance and improvements, or will force them to sell the property.
Paid for by Maine DSA for a Livable Portland
PO Box 11345, Portland, ME 04104