June 22, 2018

Rent control will keep our community together

I became involved in the movement for housing justice because my rent has been going up 9% for each of the past four years. I have lived on the same property for 26 years and virtually no improvements have been made beyond the most basic safety repairs. The property is owned by an out of town landlord who inherited it from her mother; I am sure that the mortgage was paid off decades ago. However the local property managers continue to raise the rent annually because they can, because the “market value” of real estate and rentals in our town has skyrocketed. 

As a public school teacher my salary does not increase the same pace as rents, and I am four years away from retirement. When I retire I want to continue to live in the community I will have served for 30 years, but will only be able to do so if gratuitous rent increases are somehow restricted. 

People in this town support all kinds of legislative restrictions in personal freedoms in order to protect the greater good. We protest off short oil drilling to keep our bay sanctuary waters clean. We prohibit the use of styrofoam and charge a fee for bags in grocery markets to cut down on waste. Without these restrictions some, though not all, people will put their own profit or convenience above the health of the environment. I regard rent control in the same light: a restriction on the individual right to excessive profits in order to protect the greater good of our community: to maintain it as a place where teachers and other community workers can afford to stay.

—Public school teacher and renter