Rent Control in Boston?

March 6, 2023

Boston’s city council may advance citywide rent control, but the state legislature would have to act to allow the ordinance to go into effect.

Why it matters: Housing costs continue to be a burden for many Americans, yet median multifamily rent declined each month from August 2022 to January 2023, according to The Wall Street Journal. Policymakers in some progressive communities are still pursuing rent control legislation.

By the numbers: Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s (D) proposal would implement good cause eviction principles and cap rent as follows:

  • Annual increases limited to Boston Metro Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 6%.
  • Absolute maximum increase of 10%.
  • Exempts owner-occupied dwellings with six or fewer units.
  • Exempts newer buildings under 15 years old, including conversions.

Yes, but: In 1994, Massachusetts voters approved a state law banning local governments from enacting their own rent control laws.

  • The state legislature and the Governor must act to allow Boston to enact rent caps.
  • Newly-elected Democratic Governor Maura Healy has been quiet on whether she supports a rollback of the rent control preemption.
  • The city council is divided on the proposal and the specifics may change, if it passes at all.

Contact David McCarthy ( with questions about rent control. 


David McCarthy
Managing Director, Head of Policy

A rent control proposal from Boston Mayor Michelle Wu would cap rent increases at 6% plus CPI change to a max of 10% total.

The information provided herein is general in nature and for educational purposes only. CRE Finance Council makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, validity, usefulness, or suitability of the information provided. The information should not be relied upon or interpreted as legal, financial, tax, accounting, investment, commercial or other advice, and CRE Finance Council disclaims all liability for any such reliance. © 2023 CRE Finance Council. All rights reserved.

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