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Rent Control Vote Sharpens Students – Landlords Divide

Council Session - Diamondback online

Last week’s council vote on the City’s rent control ceiling has further ignited the age old debate among the city’s students and homeowners community. The vote to raise the rent control ceiling at 0.8 percent was voted down by 5-2 votes. 

Only District 1 council members Patrick Wojahn and Chris Nagle voted for the proposed hike. 

The vote came after two public hearings, where students and property owners spoke consistently against and for the proposed ordinance respectively. 

The passage of the ordinance would have allowed the property owners to raise the rent of their properties up to 33 percent of their current property values. With the ordinance now voted down, the ceiling will remain at the 0.6 percent level. 

Proponents of the ordinance wanted to see the raise to counter the declining property values. “This (ordinance) will allow for some flexibility for landlords to charge higher rents on properties assessed at higher rates”– said council member Patrick  Wojahn before the vote. 

Opponents charged the landlords with the motives of profiteering from the proposed legislation. ““Landlords still seem to think they can make a profit converting houses in College Park [into rental properties],” said Councilman Marcus Afzali (Dist. 4), who said many available houses in his district are being bought by landlords.” – according to this Gazette report.

As expected, Student Government Association student liaison Jonathan Sachs spoke out against the measure, saying its passage would have “a profound impact on students.”

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