It's Not What You Think!

St. Paul's Rent Control Measure is Unproven and Untested

On November 2, Vote NO on Question 1


“I live in a small, family-owned apartment complex. Our landlords know each of us and care about us. This rent issue severely affects our city’s “Mom and Pop” landlords. Property taxes, heat, water, gasoline for lawn mowers and snow removal, garbage pickup, and other things for which we renters do NOT pay go up on a regular basis. If rents are restricted, our family landlords will not be able to properly maintain our apartment homes. This is a good reason to vote “NO” on November 2nd.”

Marsha in St. Paul


“Dear SHBC:

Thank you for all your efforts to (hopefully) defeat the rent control measure in St. Paul.

We are two sisters who got into the rental business over 30 years ago when we bought our triplex…

We made it our mission to keep our rents affordable.

Two-thirds of our tenants have lived in our buildings for 5 years or more. … Two-thirds of the residents of these buildings a low­ moderate income; …

…. We drive old cars, we both have jobs. We are not rich landlords – we are the exact opposite.

We are galled when we see the St. Paul City Council that decries the lack of affordable housing, consistently approve high-end housing where rent for each and every 400 sq. ft. studio apartment in these buildings FAR SURPASSES the highest rent we charge for a one-bedroom.

Should the rent control ordinance pass we will be forced to sell our buildings. We won’t be able to stay in business with such severe restrictions.

We love our buildings and we fear what will happen to our tenants if the rent control measure passes and we have to sell our buildings. We have worked very hard and it would break our hearts to sell, but we can’t go bankrupt due to the short-sightedness of activists and City Council members. At some point in time we would love to have the opportunity to ask these activists and Council members why they want to punish us for providing affordable housing.”

Jeanne and Sue Rohland


“My name is Jason George, I am the elected leader of the 14,500 members strong International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49. Our members build and operate the infrastructure of Minnesota. I was born, raised, and currently live in the city of St. Paul. St. Paul neighbors, please vote not on rent control. I grew up in apartments and was raised by a single mother. Nobody understands the pressures of rent better than me. And I know the rent control proponents are telling you this will help keep costs down. It sounds great. But as with anything in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it always is. And this proposal will have several negative impacts if passed. There is no doubt if you cap the ability for property owners to recoup their costs they will not build as many new properties, and they will not invest in their currently owned properties. That is simple economics, and that is what has happened in every major city that has passed extreme rent control policies similar to the one proposed. This policy will lead to fewer affordable housing units, and result in those already living in affordable housing having worse living conditions due to lack of investment in repairs.

This will directly lead to less revenue in property taxes for the city. St. Paul already faces challenges with so many non-taxable government entities locating here. The services we get will suffer or we will pay a lot more in taxes, that is the choice we are left with if development slows in our city. Nobody that lives in St. Paul cares more about renters that are struggling to make it than me. I was that kid, my mother lived that struggle and so did I. But rent control will not help, it will hurt these families. There is a better way. City leaders, the business community, and labor must come together to solve the affordable housing issue. The failed policy of rent control is not our answer.”

VOTE NO on rent control

Jason George
Business Manager
IUOE Local 49


“I’ve been in the industry since 1986 as a small operator (6 properties) working diligently to improve the quality of my units, providing safe and well-kept housing options. This unvetted proposal will only further depress the housing stock in St. Paul because it will no longer be economically feasible to make improvements. Remodeling a bathroom or kitchen is not cheap and rent control will make such upgrades cost-prohibitive to owners. This short-sighted proposal will also cause owners to sell or convert units to condos, providing an opportunity for out-of-state and corporate investors to scoop up rental properties, the exact outcome the vote yes people are trying to stop. We should be working towards policies that increase the number and quality of well-kept rental units, not supporting ballot question 1, which will hinder housing development in St. Paul.”

Becky Austin, Owner, Stonewood Properties


“Some landlords have heart. I believe many of us do. My parents built and owned rental properties in St. Paul. East side, West St Paul, West 7th area, Highland Park neighborhoods. I worked with my dad many years ago, and I watched how he treated his renters.
I remember him chatting with renters when he saw them, boxes of Fanny Farmer candy to each and every tenant every year at Christmas, our family hosted parties for the renters! It was personal to him. They were his FRIENDS. His goal was stability for all. He did NOT want to increase rents. Business friends would accuse him of running a charity rather than a business.

I think there are MANY landlords like him.

I am now a small St Paul landlord. My goal is to hold on to long-term tenants. My goal is stability for both me AND my tenants, and I have many long-term tenants.
I do NOT systematically raise my rents every year. I study my expenses, real estate taxes, insurance rates, other expenses, and decide where I need to be on rents.

Inflation is now 5%. St Paul taxes are going up 11% next year. Insurance rates are going up. How does a small landlord like me absorb those increases with a cap on rental rates? If a 3% cap is imposed, I will be forced to think that I MUST increase rents to the maximum amount possible every year! I have NEVER had that mentality until now.

I would like to continue being a landlord like my dad, and look out for my renters. Or I sell. Is that the desired outcome here? This is a sledgehammer approach and will have many unintended consequences for renters. Please vote no.”

Sue Johnson
St. Paul, MN

Sue Johnson photo