Mayor Melvin Carter weighs in on St. Paul's new rent ordinance |

Mayor Melvin Carter weighs in on St. Paul's new rent ordinance

Kyle Brown
Created: November 07, 2021 09:33 AM

St. Paul voters last week approved an ordinance to cap how much landlords can raise rents in a 12-month period.

The measure caps annual rent increases at 3%, even if a new tenant moves into a unit. But renters and landlords alike still have questions on how the regulation will be implemented, and developers have expressed concerns on how it will affect the profitability of new housing.

Newly reelected Mayor Melvin Carter, who endorsed the new ordinance, said regulating rent increases is a step toward better housing security in St. Paul.

 "We are in an urgent moment. We are in a point of crisis," he said in an interview Sunday on 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "We lost St. Paul residents last winter just because people couldn't find a warm place to sleep, and our teachers tell us we have children in our public schools who switched schools five or six times in one school year because that's how housing insecure their family is."

Acknowledging concerns from the business community that the new regulation could scare new development away from the city, Carter pointed to language in the ordinance that voters passed that would allow exceptions for a reasonable return on investment.

To remedy those concerns, Carter said he intended to ask the St. Paul City Council to pass a clarifying ordinance that explicitly allowed an exemption for new housing construction.

"We're a city that's almost at its all-time high in population, we've already got a significant housing shortage, and we've got two decades of projected growth in front of us," Carter told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "We just can't afford to do anything that's going to slow the growth of new housing construction in our community."

The new regulation passed with support from 53% of St. Paul voters and is slated to go into effect on May 1, 2022.

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