Letter: Rent control is needed, can work in South Portland

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As a renter, I have experienced our rental housing crisis and feel that our community needs to regulate apartment rentals. We need to design a balanced rent-control ordinance with input from all community stakeholders. In other cities with rent control, it is still possible for landlords to charge any amount upon initial tenancy, while limited to raising rent by a percentage every year. Under rent control, landlords can still have a fair return on their investment as well as the right to raise the rent for capital improvements. Rent control will not keep rents artificially low; rather, it keeps rents from becoming artificially high and prevents displacement of residents. The goal of rent control isn’t to increase the supply of housing; it is to provide needed protection for renters.

There is no doubt the cost of rent is skyrocketing compared to actual increases in the cost of goods, services, and renter household income. Many tenants do not have the luxury of moving, and large rent increases result in a huge stress placed on working families, and a lesser quality of life.

So, which is more frightening? Controlling rents so the average person can survive and afford a decent life, or continuing to see a rise in displacement, homelessness and hunger? Rent control can work and will work; all we have to do is come together and create a solution.

Brittanie Walsh
South Portland