The City Council will be reviewing a staff proposal this week on how to amend Saint Paul’s new rent control ordinance. Among the recommendations are retention of the 3 percent cap on annual rent increases but with an exemption for up to 20 years for new construction.

The proposed amendments are based on the work of the city’s Rent Stabilization Stakeholders Group, which wrapped up its deliberations in June. Included in those recommendations is a just-cause requirement that mandates landlords who choose not to renew a tenant’s lease to explain why.

The proposed amendments detail how utility costs may be factored into rent increases, the factors on which rent increases above 3 percent can be based, and which city department is responsible for responding to rent increase requests and appeals. The amendments flesh out the processes landlords may follow to request a rent increase from 3 to 8 percent and an increase of over 8 percent. The appeal process for tenants is also outlined.

One provision would allow landlords who do not raise rents for several years to “bank” those 3 percent increases and use several of them in a single year to raise the rent above the 3 percent cap. Another set of amendments details how rents could be increased if an apartment or an entire building needs substantial renovation.

   

A public hearing on the proposed amendments will be held before the City Council on August 10. The intent is for the amended rent control ordinance to become effective on January 1, 2023.

— Jane McClure

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