After three hours of intense and at times impassioned public testimony, the City Council last night voted to support maintaining rent control in Cambridge.
The 6-2 vote comes on the heels of the defeat of a state House bill yesterday that proposed the abolition of rent control in the Commonwealth. Twenty-one states currently have legislation outlawing rent control.
The council order, introduced by Councillor Jonathan S. Meyers, was passed to express the city's approval of rent control to the Cambridge representatives on the state's rent control committee. Although the state bill was shot down and cannot be proposed again this term, it can be reintroduced in the future.
While the tenants at the meeting claimed they would not be able to live in Cambridge if rent control were abolished, landlords blasted the order saying that stabilized rents would soon force them out of the city also.
Barbara Pilgrim, a member of the Small Property Owners Association, said her objection to rent control stems from the property owners' inability to foot steep home improvement and mortgage bills without being able to pass the cost on to the tenant.
The tenants, however, appealed to the council that abolishing rent control would drive out the poor and middle class segments of the city which cannot pay for regular, uncontrolled rents.