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Ask Your Government: Why doesn’t North Dakota institute some form of rent control?

“The short answer is that rent controls are illegal in North Dakota as per state law.”

By: Teri Finneman, INFORUM | Published July 14, 2012, 11:30 PM

 

Dear Teri,

I have heard that the city of New York, and I am assuming other areas as well, have pricing regulations on real estate property, such as rent or housing. Am I correct in this? If so, what is preventing some pricing controls from taking effect in the Oil Patch counties? Thank you. Sincerely,

Craig Kappel

Dickinson, N.D.

Thanks for writing! I could have asked a variety of people to respond to this. I settled on four state senators with an interest in this topic and the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency.

I’ll start with Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, and his response:

“The short answer is that rent controls are illegal in North Dakota as per state law.

“However, citizens asked me to sponsor legislation establishing rent controls similar to controls in place in other parts of the country. Unfortunately, these same citizens were reluctant to be public about their request, fearing retribution from their landlords and elected officials who saw rent controls as limiting immediate high profits available because of the oil boom.

“Simplistic statewide rent control in the form of a law that makes rent increase illegal does not make sense. But giving authority to cities to limit the amount of increase to the rate of inflation makes sense. It gives the control to local authorities with a practical economic parameter.

“The main point, though, is that energy development in North Dakota has an upside and downside. Where there is a downside, like escalating rents that put people into the street and price gouging, government needs to act.

“This includes developing more housing projects, placing expectations on the energy industry to share the wealth and giving cities the tools to manage housing policy for their citizens. Rent control can be one of those tools for some cities in crisis.” Continue reading