Atlanta Council Approves Rent Control Resolution to State of Georgia
(APN) ATLANTA — A resolution asking the State of Georgia to remove the statewide prohibition on rent control, or rent stabilization, passed the City Council of Atlanta at the Full Council Meeting on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
The resolution, introduced by Councilman Antonio Brown (District 3), passed in a vote of fourteen to one.
J.P. Matzigkeit was the one nay vote.
Advocates for rent control, including APN’s News Editor, packed the Finance/Executive Committee Meeting on January 15, 2020.
“I am directly affected all around me, my friends are becoming homeless,” Deidra Currie, an Atlanta resident, said.
“My boyfriend I’m dating… his place he’s renting, was 980 [dollars in rent per month]… now it’s eleven hundred dollars. And they just submitted to him that he should pay seventeen hundred dollars… with nothing in their way!”
She said her mother can no longer afford to rent her own dwelling, and is moving in with her, which is going to displace a couple who is currently living with her and have nowhere else to go. “They have nowhere to rent.”
“So this is a crucial resolution, which I sincerely hope will pass, which will go to whatever level is next to get some kind of control of the out-of-control greed which is running the rental industry in this state,” Curry said.
“Rent control is very necessary now in Atlanta. And other big cities are doing it, like San Francisco and New York,” Sherise Brown said on behalf of the Housing Justice League.
“It also keep low-income and working class people in their communities,” she said. “It helps with housing stability and it puts people closer to where they work, which keeps down traffic and pollution,” Brown said.
“So I think rent control is the way to go… I think it’s time to speak about this and implement it, because we have a homeless epidemic here.”
Two representatives of the citizen-led Housing Commission, convened pursuant to city ordinance, presented the Commission’s recommendation in favor of the resolution.
The resolution received nearly unanimous support from the Council, including one of the Council’s two representatives of Atlanta’s generally conservative neighborhoods of Buckhead.
“I’m gonna support this because I don’t think I should have the ability to prevent someone initiating a conversation with somebody else,” Councilman Howard Shook (District 7) said, appearing to refer to the ability of the City of Atlanta to have a conversation with the State of Georgia.
“Just a couple comments. For historical persons, the law that currently is sought to be repealed was adopted by the Minority Party,” Shook said. In other words, it was Georgia Democrats who enacted the statewide ban on rent control in the first place.
“So in terms of expectations, I hope that people are going to govern themselves appropriately.”
Councilman Matzigkeit opposed the resolution because he said he opposes controlling the prices of things.
Matzigkeit said he supports addressing the lack of affordable housing in other ways.
However, part of the reason rent control has had so much support from the Council and from stakeholders is because, as long as rents continue to rise, there is no amount of building, funding, or other public policy–other than rent control–that will address Atlanta’s growing unmet for affordable housing.
Penny Moceri opposed the resolution on behalf of the Atlanta Apartment Association.
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2020)