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Thursday, March 10, 2022

波士頓向管制租金邁步 吳弭宣佈成立23人顧問委員會

波士頓市長吳弭 (Michelle  Wu) 推動租金管制。(周菊子攝)
(Boston Orange 周菊子波士頓報導) 波士頓市長吳弭 (Michelle Wu) (10) 日宣佈成立23人的「穩定租金顧問委員會 (Rent Stabilization Advisory Committee) 」,在2022年底前將每月開會,研議各種可行方案,找出為穩定租金,保護租戶免於流離失所,兼顧房東需求的兩全其美辦法。

波士頓市計畫在麻州議會的下一會期遞出方案,請麻州議會支持。

吳弭表示,大部分波士頓居民都是租屋而居,如果我們不去處理租金上漲正逼使家庭遷出波士頓這趨勢,就是沒有照顧到民眾需求。吳弭指出,美國有許多州及城市都實施租金管制,波士頓將參考其他城市做法來制定政策。

波士頓市府稱市內居民約65%

波士頓房屋長Sheila Dillon (右)說明波士頓曾經實施過租金管制,後來取消,現在為重提,
是為了保護租屋而居者不至於流離失所。(周菊子攝)
租屋居住,其中一半以上花在租金上的錢,超過月收入的三分之一,以致於很難存錢,居住狀況因而也不穩定。

2020年的人口統計調查也顯示,黑人家庭正在遷離波士頓市,在20102020年間,全市的非西班牙裔黑人人口下降了6%。穩定租金是支持租戶的短期辦法,長期來說還是要增加市內可負擔住宅數量。

成立穩定租金顧問委員會是波士頓市朝向吳弭市長最關心議題邁出的一小步。

華人前進會主任陳玉珍(右)表示,收入不高的人得花在租金上的錢,比例比月薪的
三分之一高很多。(周菊子攝)

波士頓市要實現管制租金,必須獲得麻州議會,以及州長的支持。然而麻州在1994年時經選票問題,通過全麻州禁止實施租金控制。近年來多個市鎮有意設立自己的租金規定,也都在麻州議會撞板。波士頓市要實現這目標,還有不少障礙要清除。

批評者認為,租金控制將阻礙民間興建房屋意願,使得房東更不願意花錢整修。也有人認為這將使得不受租金管制的公寓單位更為昂貴。

不過諸如加州,奧勒岡州,和大波士頓這些租金昂貴地區,都在推動加強保護租戶的行動。

由於租金管制爭議頗多,美國境內現有大約37州立法禁止管制租金,但紐約,新澤西,加州,馬里蘭州及奧勒岡州等5州和哥倫比亞特區都有租金管制。其中加州及奧勒岡州,只在特定城市實施此法。華府,舊金山及洛杉磯境內有大約一半的出租房屋有租金管制。

波士頓市長吳弭和波士頓房屋長Sheila Dillon今日宣佈的「穩定租金顧問委員會 」,23名成員包括華人前進會行政主任陳玉珍,大波士頓法律事務援助處資深律師Lauren Song,哈佛大學住宅研究聯合中心執行主任Chris Herbert,聯邦房住局(HUD)租戶聯盟執行主任Michael Kane,麻州社區發展公司協會董事長Joe Kriesberg,麻州住宅前鋒(Housing Forward MA)執行主任Josh Zakim等人,訂4月召開第一次會議。

部分委員會委員出席發言。(周菊子攝)

MAYOR WU ANNOUNCES MEMBERS OF RENT STABILIZATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Committee will examine successful rent stabilization programs in other cities and consider measures to stop displacement of Boston families and protect tenants

 

BOSTON - Thursday, March 10, 2022 - Building upon her commitment to protect Boston renters, today Mayor Michelle Wu announced a Rent Stabilization Advisory Committee made up of housing advocates, developers, tenants, and other stakeholders. The advisory committee members will study local housing conditions as well as the structure and outcomes of rent stabilization programs in other cities. They will be tasked with making recommendations to the Mayor and the Mayor’s Office of Housing on strategies to stabilize Boston rents and protect tenants from displacement. The committee will meet throughout 2022 with the goal of shaping a proposal for the next state legislative session.

 “Cities across the country use rent stabilization as one tool among many to protect tenants and keep families in their homes,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “The majority of Boston residents and families are renters. If we aren’t willing to take on the rent increases that are driving families out of Boston, then we aren’t meeting the needs of our neighborhoods. I thank the broad group of stakeholders, including advocates, tenants, and developers, who are willing to roll up their sleeves to reimagine what’s possible.”

 Rent stabilization measures in cities across the United States empower municipalities to set certain limits on annual rent increases for existing tenants, and may also include other tenant protections. These approaches promote the preservation of mixed-income neighborhoods and prevent renters from being pushed out of their communities.   

 “As an organizer fighting for a housing market that lets people move when they want, where they want, not when they have to, I am pleased to be a part of this committee,” said Beyazmin Jimenez, Abundant Housing Massachusetts Board President. “I look forward to working with the other members of this committee to explore ways that the City can create more accessible housing in our communities.”

 “Having worked with previous Boston mayors on planning and affordable housing policy, I’m looking forward to being able to serve the new administration and offer my expertise to shape the conversation around rent stabilization,” said Curtis Kemeny, CEO and President of Boston Residential Group. “This is a step in the right direction, and I am confident that the City will work to ensure a thoughtful, inclusive, and balanced policy that works for all residents.”

 Almost 65% of Bostonians are renters, and more than half of them spend more than 30% of their monthly income on rent, leaving them struggling to save and vulnerable to housing instability. The 2020 Census also made clear that Black families are leaving the city, with the non-Hispanic Black population citywide falling by over 6% between 2010-2020. Rent stabilization is one of many tools to support renters in the short term, alongside longer-term measures that can be used to tackle housing supply and affordability.

 The work of this committee would complement the work of the Office of Housing Stability. The Office of Housing Stability helps tenants in housing crises due to fire, natural disaster, eviction, or condemnation with the goal of putting residents on the path to housing stability. Its efforts include launching tenants' rights clinics for those who are not able to come to City Hall during business hours; offering low- and no-cost mediation and dispute resolution for landlords and tenants; launching the Housing Court Navigator, which provides legal advice for tenants; launching the Landlord Incentive program, which offers financial backing for landlords renting to formerly unhoused people; and creating Boston's first-ever online guide to evictions, designed to assist tenants in every phase of a potential eviction proceeding. 

 Rent stabilization would complement Mayor Wu’s other initiatives to address Boston’s housing affordability, including the Transfer Fee and Senior Property Tax Exemption Home Rule Petition, and her commitment to update the City’s commercial linkage fee and Inclusionary Development Policies. She is also highlighting the importance of Housing by renaming the Department of Neighborhood Development as the Mayor’s Office of Housing, and bringing a new focus on equity by signing an Executive Order relative to affirmatively furthering fair housing.  

 This Advisory Committee will convene monthly to hear from experts on different rent stabilization models and City officials from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) on local rental market conditions. The committee will also hold community listening sessions throughout the process to hear community perspectives on housing affordability challenges and potential solutions. The first community listening session will be held virtually on April 19th, and the public can RSVP here to attend.

 Rent Stabilization Advisory Committee Members:

 

·       Emma Anderson, Boston Teachers Union member

·       Kathy Brown, Coordinator at Boston Tenant Coalition 

·       Joe Byrne, Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters

·       Karen Chen, Executive Director at Chinese Progressive Association

·       Filaine Deronnette, Vice President of Health Systems for 1199 SEIU

·       Emilio Dorcely, CEO of Urban Edge

·       Dermot Doyne, Local landlord and business owner 

·       Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies 

·       Beyazmin Jimenez, Abundant Housing Massachusetts Board President 

·       Michael Kane, Executive Director at HUD Tenant Alliance

·       Brian Kavoogian, Managing Director of National Development

·       Curtis Kemeny, CEO and President of Boston Residential Group

·       Joe Kriesberg, President of Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations

·       Denise Matthews-Turner, Co-Executive Director at City Life Vida Urbana

·       Lisa Owens, Executive Director at Hyams Foundation

·       Jeanne Pinado, Vice President of Capital Markets at Colliers International

·       Mimi Ramos, Executive Director at New England United for Justice

·       Megan Sandel, Associate Professor of Pediatric Medicine at Boston University

·       Chanda Smart, CEO at Onyx

·       Lauren Song, Senior Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services

·       Justin Steil, Associate Professor of Law and Urban Planning, MIT

·       Carolyn Villers, Executive Director at Mass Senior Action

·       Josh Zakim, Founder and Executive Director at Housing Forward MA

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