PORTLAND, Maine, Aug. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- "Say No to Rent Control" announced today its formal opposition to a proposed ballot referendum to implement rent control in the City of Portland. The coalition was formed in response to immediate public outcry over the highly controversial ballot referendum.
"Simply put, this proposed rent control referendum is reckless and extreme," noted Brit Vitalius, a spokesperson for the group. "It would cause immediate and lasting problems for the entire City, ultimately resulting in less safe housing, and a decline in neighborhoods, while shifting the property tax burden toward individual homeowners."
Repercussions of the proposed referendum include a sharp decrease in property values, reduced incentives for property improvements, and an inability to terminate leases of the most problematic tenants, even those who are disturbing the peace of their neighborhood.
The referendum would require property owners wishing to raise rent to go before a proposed "rent control board" of 7 volunteers, of whom 4 are tenants. Tenants could also appeal rental increases and lease terminations to this board, which would be given authority to impose fines through the proposed ordinance. This board would replace the court system and the free market system, adding hopeless bureaucracy for both tenants and property owners.
Additionally, there are many inherent legal issues that would make this proposal difficult if not impossible to enforce. "Many provisions of this proposed ordinance are preempted by State law and therefore unenforceable by the City," says Vitalius. "This ill-conceived 'rent control board' would be a legal and bureaucratic nightmare for Portland."
The referendum would lock-in rents as of November 1, 2017. It forces the rent amount to remain with the property, it does not reset when a tenant leaves. Property values will stagnate as rents will become essentially fixed. With rents controlled by the City, property owners would have little incentive to invest in or even maintain their properties.
Historically, rent control is a counterproductive policy that has failed in many cities across the country. More than 93% of economists, liberal and conservative alike, agree that rent control reduces the quality and quantity of housing available.
"There is little debate among housing experts that rent control is a policy that routinely fails the communities who experiment with it," added Vitalius.
A group of concerned Portland citizens named "Say No to Rent Control" has formed to defeat this referendum. Their mission is to educate voters about the real consequences of this proposed law.
"We are confident that once all the voters of Portland truly understand the real implications of this reckless referendum, it will be soundly rejected," noted Vitalius.
SOURCE “Say No to Rent Control”