Lifting NM’s rent control ban on session agenda - Albuquerque Journal

Lifting NM’s rent control ban on session agenda

In this file photo, Sen. Linda Lopez presides over a meeting of the Senate Rules Committee. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — Sen. Linda Lopez says she will introduce legislation in the 2023 session to repeal New Mexico’s prohibition on rent control and allow cities and counties to take up the issue.

A state law now on the books prevents any local government from enacting an “ordinance or resolution that controls or would have the effect of controlling rental rates for privately owned real property.”

Lopez, a Democrat whose district covers part of Southwest Albuquerque, said her proposal would lift the prohibition but not direct cities to take any particular action.

In an interview, however, she made it clear that she believes rent control could be part of the solution to keeping people housed and limiting increases in rent.

“We need to have this discussion, especially with the issues around persons who are unhoused in our community and people living paycheck to paycheck,” Lopez said. “They’re scared.”

Her proposal, of course, is likely to generate plenty of opposition.

Opponents say rent control would discourage investors from building more housing and ultimately do more harm than good.

Even with rent control prohibited, the idea surfaced before the Albuquerque City Council last month. The council voted 7-2 against a proposal to ask the Legislature to repeal the rent control prohibition.

Nevertheless, it looks like the debate will hit the Roundhouse next year. Lopez plans to introduce her bill in the 60-day legislative session that begins Jan. 17.

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