Vote No On A

Stop Landlords From Gouging Rents

The Southern Maine Landlords Association—now known as the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine—has placed a measure onto the June ballot that would allow landlords to raise the rent as much as they want on a new tenant or when a tenant moves from one unit to another. The existing increase cap of 5% between turnovers was put in place by the Rent Control Ordinance that was overwhelmingly passed by Portland voters in November of 2020 and 2022. 

Despite their rebrand in name, the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine’s vested interests remain with landlords—not tenants.

What Can I Do?

Tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, hook-ups, parents, etc. about what the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine is really trying to do through this ballot measure. And vote NO on June 23, 2023.

Donate to help defeat the landlords.

Join us in the fight against Portland landlords.

What Else Should I Know?

Just give me the facts. What will this change do?

Currently, if you voluntarily leave your unit (that is, you decide to leave because you want to live somewhere else, not because you were evicted and/or your lease was not renewed) your landlord can raise the rent for the next tenant by 5%. If the landlord loophole passes, they could raise the rent by as much as they want. One landlord who tried to do this on a turnover under the current law raised the rent on a unit from $2,300 to $3,800—more than 60%!

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.

What has happened in other cities that have this provision?

Great question! Sadly, what you would expect. In NYC for instance, they put this loophole in place in the 1990’s and since then it has resulted in tens of thousands of units no longer being affordable. In fact, the last study showed 150,000 were lost to working class families. It got so bad that in 2019, the New York Legislature actually banned the loophole statewide! You can read more here: Rent Regulations in New York: How They’ll Affect Tenants and Landlords.

And here’s an article from Canada about a similar provision and how it has caused rents to skyrocket: “Vacancy decontrol has failed tenants and should be abolished.

Landlords say rent control “doesn’t work,” is this true?

The literature and research is clear that rent stabilization works for its intended purpose: to keep people housed, units affordable, communities intact, and produce better economic outcomes for people living in stabilized apartments.

Will this hurt the quality of our existing housing stock?

The 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.