NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – After several failed attempts to get city councilors to back them on ending the prohibition on rent control, Albuquerque’s People’s Housing Project is finally gaining momentum as more people join their side. One of those people happens to be a state legislator.
After a failed 7-2 vote by Albuquerque City Councilors in October asking state legislators to allow for rent control, organizers of the People’s Housing Project said the minor setback last month only fueled their momentum and lead to the senator sponsoring the bill.
“This is really about a struggle for democracy right now. Local communities have no democratic rights to enact any controls on rent,” said People’s Housing Project Organizer Bex Hampton.
Organizers of the movement are seeking to prevent landlords from running background checks on applicants. They also want to cap rent to not exceed a certain portion of a tenant’s income. It did not get the needed support from the council. However, with support from Democratic Senator Linda Lopez, it’s given some tenants hope.
“As a tenant who was evicted last month and had to find new accommodation, I am now paying double of what I was paying just around the corner to be able to be in solidarity with my friends at the People’s Housing Project and to see this momentum and to finally have a little bit of victory is so exciting,” said an Albuquerque tenant, Breana Connor.
UNM Associate Professor of Finance Reilly White stated while the bill may give tenants some leeway on rent gouging, the short-term benefits don’t compare to the long-term effects the bill could bring if it becomes law in the next legislative session.
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“It reduces investment in new properties which is really what lowers property values, and it reduces incentives for landlords to maintain those properties,” said White. White added, the recent findings from last month show Albuquerque’s rent growth has increased by 42.3% in the last two years. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment today is averaging almost $1,100 a month.
The People’s Housing Project along with Senator Lopez will hold a rally at the Joseph Baca Plaza Saturday making their announcement to introduce the bill to the 2023 Legisative Session.