Boston Mayor Michelle Wu takes steps to make rents more affordable

by Liz Hughes

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is delivering on a campaign promise to make rents more affordable.

On Thursday she announced the formation of the city’s Rent Stabilization Advisory Committee to study local housing conditions, along with the structure and outcomes of similar programs in other cities.

Comprised of housing advocates, developers, tenants and other stakeholders, Wu said the committee will be tasked with making recommendations to stabilize city rents and protect tenants from being displaced. The committee will meet throughout 2022 to have a proposal ready for the next state legislative session. 

Wu said cities across the country use rent stabilization as a tool to protect tenants and keep families in their homes. 

“The majority of Boston residents and families are renters,” she said. “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.”

According to a release from Wu’s office, almost 65% of the city’s residents are renters, and more than half of them spend 30% or more of their monthly income on rent.

“Rent stabilization is one of many tools to support renters in the short term, alongside longer-term measures that can be used to tackle housing supply and affordability,” she said. 

The committee will meet monthly and also hold community listening sessions to hear community perspectives on housing affordability challenges and potential solutions. 

The first community listening session will be held virtually on April 19.

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