SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A proposal to let New Mexico communities enact rent control has stalled at the Roundhouse. “Rent prices have skyrocketed and even the basic increase in wages that we instituted in 2019 are insufficient by far,” says Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D- Albuquerque).

Right now, state law prohibits cities and counties from setting caps on rent. Albuquerque Rep. Roybal Caballero is one of the lawmakers behind Senate Bill 99. This proposal would lift that restriction.

Advocates told the Senate Health Committee this week, housing costs have gotten out of hand, with Albuquerque seeing a 42% jump in two years amid high demand. Committee members agreed there is an affordable housing shortage but expressed concerns about driving away developers.

Some argued allowing municipalities to make their own rules could also lead to other problems. “This would tie us up, I think, with Sandoval County getting all the development and Bernalillo County getting none if they enacted it, or vice versa, or Valencia County,” says Sen. Gerald Ortiz Y Pino (D- Albuquerque).

“We could have landlord-tenant laws on the books statewide done by us, in a thoughtful manner with economist and policy experts as opposed to these massive political fights,” says Sen. Moe Maestas (D- Albuquerque).

The committee voted to table the bill.