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Rent control bill drafted, ready to be introduced in next legislative session

(Construction on the Quattro Apartments in Salt Lake. Credit: Jeffrey D Allred, Deseret News, September 2019)

UTAH STATE CAPITOL – It’s a concept that’s well known on the east coast, but one lawmaker wants to open up a discussion about rent control in Utah.  She says local governments don’t have enough say about what happens in their cities.

Representative Jennifer Dailey-Provost was asked by a constituent if anything could be done to cap the rising price of rent.  Recent reports show prices have spiked over 40 percent in Ogden and 28 percent in Salt Lake City over the past five years.

However, she says cities and municipalities are only allowed to propose rent control measures.  They can’t actually implement them without the approval of the state.

“City councils know what they’re communities need best,” she says.

Her bill doesn’t propose any kind of specific rent control plan, but it would give local governments the final say on these policies.  She believes that rent control measures that might work in one city might not work in another.

Dailey-Provost says, “Let’s say something did get implemented.  It would apply to the entire state which does nothing for meeting the unique needs of communities.”

She doesn’t expect this bill to sail through the legislature, easily.  She believes it could get a lot of push back, considering the bad rap rent control earned on the east coast.

“Whenever anyone hears the phrase ‘rent control’ they imagine New York City in the 1980s, which devastated their real estate economy,” she says, adding, “That’s not an unreasonable way to feel.  We’ve seen implementation of rent control go very, very wrong.”

The bill has already been drafted, and Dailey-Provost is waiting to get an official bill number.