Public Policy |

What’s on the ballot in St. Paul this year?

Read this in plain language.

Like Minneapolis, people living in St. Paul have a chance to vote on whether the city can or cannot restrict rent increases.

Question 1 on St. Paul’s ballot is “Should the City adopt the proposed Ordinance limiting rent increases?”

The ordinance was written by a coalition of advocacy groups called Housing Equity Now Saint Paul (HENS). It limits residential rent increases to no more than 3 percent in a 12-month period, regardless of whether occupants change. The ordinance also directs the city to create a process for landlords to request an exception to the 3 percent limit based on the right to a reasonable return on investment.

A “yes” vote will allow price controls in the future. Advocates for the ordinance say that controlling rent prices will make costs more fixed and easier to understand for people living in the city. They say that price controls aid low-income renters who need stable and consistent rent.

A “no” vote would not allow limiting rent increases. Advocates against the ordinance argue that the rent control will create lower quality housing because landlords will not be able to cover the inflation costs of maintenance and equipment upgrades. They also note that no city in the nation has implemented a rent control measure as extensive as the St. Paul proposal.

If voters approve the ordinance, the city of St. Paul already has a plan ready for implementation. City leaders would be responsible for moving forward with the plan.

Early voting began on September 17th, and Election Day is on Tuesday Nov. 2nd. Please click here to find your nearest voting location.

Written by Grace Seifert, State and Federal Policy Intern