Georgia Legislature Proposes Landmark Bill Empowering Cities and Counties with Rent Control Authority


“It’s clear that the housing market is in trouble,” said state Rep. Eric Bell (D-Jonesboro). The property boom has been great for people who can afford to buy homes in better neighborhoods in and around metro Atlanta. He says it is a problem for people on the outside, though. “They live in their cars. “Even though they work every day, they still can’t find a nice place to live,” Bell said Thursday.

It was dropped by Bell a House bill that would have let Georgia communities pass rules that would limit rent increases by landlords. The state Senate has a bill like this.

The state House passed a bill earlier this year that requires owners to keep buildings weatherproof and make sure they have working plumbing, running water, heating, ventilation, and locks. The Senate has not agreed to it yet.

Kyle Wingfield of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a right think tank, says that conservatives will be against Bell’s bill, which would let rent control happen.

“What you’re doing is making builders and developers less likely to add new homes.” Too little supply is the main reason why rents and house prices are so high, and not just in metro Atlanta. It’s the main reason across the state and the country.

For Bell, though, it should be up to the local government to decide how much rents can go up or down.

“They know what’s best for their towns.” Bell said, “I think we should give them the power to take charge and have stronger local control.”

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Republicans don’t back either Bell’s bill or a nearly identical bill in the Senate that would control rents. An AJC study from earlier this year found that about a quarter of state politicians are also landlords.

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