Some Providence Tenants Say They Feel Powerless, And Rent Control Would Help

Feb 14, 2018

Tenants say the high cost of rent and poor living conditions are driving some Providence renters out of their homes. 

In a city where more than half the population rents, some Providence tenants say they feel powerless when landlords raise the rent unexpectedly or neglect problems in their homes.

Now the advocacy group Direct Action for Rights and Equality is pushing for a new city ordinance to prevent landlords from increasing rents more than once a year. The group is also calling for an oversight board to set limits on rent increases and mediate between landlords and tenants.

“The rent-control ordinance we’ve written is not to say that landlords couldn’t make their case for additional rent increase, or an issue they’re having with a tenant, or the need to change the rental arrangement with a tenant because of costs and things,” said Chris Rotondo an organizer with DARE. “All we’re asking is that they should have to prove those things.”

The DARE proposal would cap rent increases at 4 percent per year, or the percent increase in the cost of living, as calculated by the Consumer Price Index. Rotondo said DARE anticipates pushback from city landlords. Rotondo says they hope to get the ordinance on the November ballot in Providence.