There is no rent control question on Minneapolis ballots in the city's upcoming elections.
That might surprise some. After all, voters in 2021 approved a ballot question that raised the likelihood of a future ballot question on the subject. As recently as this spring, a majority of City Council members supported putting a question about rent control — often called rent stabilization by supporters — to voters this fall.
Then in June, a group of five council members effectively killed that chance in a contentious maneuver that took advantage of the absence of the council's three Muslim members during an Islamic holiday.
Debate on the topic continues, and several council candidates are campaigning on their support for rent control. But a direct question to the voters isn't happening yet.
There has never been agreement among council members and Mayor Jacob Frey as to what type of rent control, if any, the city should have. Frey is generally cool to the idea, and several council members are dead set against it.
Here's the backstory:
Voters in 2021 approved, by roughly 53% to 47%, an amendment to the city's charter that gave the council authority to enact a rent control policy, or to put a policy to voters. Numerous council members, including Council President Andrea Jenkins, said they planned to put a proposal to voters this year.
A working group that included landlords, tenants and advocates met and sent two ideas to the council in December.
The favored option was a 3% cap on annual rent increases, mirroring a policy approved by St. Paul voters in 2021. The second Minneapolis idea was a softer version that would have allowed more rental properties to raise rents by higher rates. In May, the council voted 7-5 to move ahead with the first plan — although Jenkins, who voted in favor of it, said she wouldn't support those specifics; she wanted the process to continue so a compromise could be hammered out. Frey said he'd veto the plan before it could reach voters.
Then on June 28, while Council Members Aisha Chughtai, Jamal Osman and Jeremiah Ellison were absent observing Eid al-Adha, five council members — a majority only because of the absence of the Muslim members — forced a procedural vote that meant no substantive rent control policy could be approved in time to be printed on the ballots.
The five were Council Members Michael Rainville, LaTrisha Vetaw, Lisa Goodman and Emily Koski, and Vice President Linea Palmisano.