By Bob Katzen
On March 30, Reps. Paul Mark (D-Peru) and Lindsay Sabadosa (D-Northampton) filed a bill that would prevent all increases in rent until 30 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted. Local cities and towns would also have the power to freeze rents in their local communities.
Mark and Sabadosa said in written testimony that they filed the measure because housing is an area where sudden economic decline would have a significant impact on families, the state and its cities and towns.
“Large rental companies are continuing to renew leases with rent increases, causing some to have to leave their homes and search for new housing during a pandemic,” they said. “Graduate students have been particularly hard-hit as they have suddenly found themselves unemployed, out of school and unable to afford attempts to increase their rent.”
“We filed this legislation in response to concerns from both commercial and residential renters in our districts who were already struggling to make rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only to find themselves facing rent increases,” added Sabadosa. “Housing security is not something we should jeopardize anytime, but especially during a public health crisis. If we care about protecting public health and want to stimulate the economy, ensuring that people can stay housed is essential.”