Rent control favored

More than three-quarters of Boston voters support rent control to rein in soaring housing costs, according to a Dorchester Reporter-WBUR-The Boston Foundation poll published last week.

One rent control supporter is Maria Mangiafico of East Boston, who said she has lived in Eastie for 65 years and has seen a huge improvement in the neighborhood over that time.

But the development has also come at a price.

“It’s really a beautiful neighborhood, but because of improving it, the rents have gone way up,” she said. “It’s ridiculous. And almost everybody I know who didn’t own property, they had to leave.”

But 39-year-old Benjamin Tocchi of Brighton has mixed feelings on the issue. He said he agrees with the aims of capping rents for tenants, but he worries what that could mean for property owners.

“It’s not even just create affordability, it’s that we want to encourage long-term tenancy,” Tocchi said. “But on the flipside, we also need to ensure that landlords make a sufficient profit that they want to invest in their properties.”

The poll also found 8 in 10 poll respondents supported building more housing near MBTA stations, a measure some advocates have proposed to help promote public transit and reduce traffic.

But a majority of voters oppose letting developers build fewer parking spaces for new apartments and condo buildings.  Some housing advocates argue the current parking requirements increase the cost of housing and discourage new development. But without the rules, others worry it could become even harder to park in the city.

The survey also found that 71 percent of Boston residents think housing in the city has become unaffordable for people like themselves.  People of all income levels and age groups agreed with the sentiment.

This article was first published by WBUR 90.9FM on April 14, 2021. The Reporter and WBUR share content through a media partnership.