The Boston Tenant Coalition, which is comprised ofrepresentatives from most of the housing advocates and tenantsgroup in the city, held a rally on Saturday to kick off theircampaign to restore rent control to Boston. Its been six yearssince rent control was abolished--it was banned through a statewideballot initiative in November 1994 and ended December, 1996--andrepresentatives from the coalition contend that the situation sincehas gotten out of control.

"There is no alternative," Roxan McKinnon, assistant coordinatorfor the coalition, tells "The campaign is a responseto what tenants have been talking about and saying they need."McKinnon says that when rent control was eliminated "no oneimagined that rents would go" as high as they have. "The rentgouging that has been going on has been putting people out of theirhomes," she adds, noting that fifty to 100% increases in rent arenot unusual without any tenant protection. Currently, she says, forsomeone to be able to rent a two-bedroom apartment in the city theywould have to earn on average $24 per hour. For a three-bedroomapartment, a salary of $30 per hour on average has to be earned."That is very far away from what people are earning," she notes,and adds that the coalition's campaign has so far beenwell-received. "People are ready to hear this," she says. "This hasbeen brewing for a while."

But not all people are thrilled with the prospect ofresurrecting rent control. For developers the idea that theirprofits on residential projects could be limited is, to say theleast, not a pleasant thought. "Who would invest if they could onlymake eight percent?" Tom Meagher, president of Northeast ApartmentAdvisors, an apartment market and development market consultingcompany. "There is also a question of how the rent control measureis drafted and investors don't like uncertainty."

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