Politics and Government

Minneapolis council stops rent measure with three supporters out for Muslim holiday

Minneapolis City Hall
A vote on rent control was done by the Minneapolis City Council while three members, all Muslim, were observing Eid al-Adha.
Tim Evans for MPR News | 2022

Updated: June 29, 10 a.m.

Voters in Minneapolis are not likely to see a rent control question on the ballot this fall. The city council Wednesday killed the measure while three council members were away to observe the Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha.

A majority of the council supports a 3 percent annual residential rent cap, but with Aisha Chughtai, Jeremiah Ellison and Jamal Osman out, the council narrowly voted not to move the measure forward.

Council member Elliott Payne — a rent stabilization supporter — called the vote outrageous.

“We ought to be ashamed of ourselves as a body for not being able to govern and follow democratic norms,” Payne said.

Council member LaTrisha Vetaw said rent control will harm the people it's meant to help, and the city should focus more on building housing.

"Rent control is going to stop the building of housing. And so therefore today, I'm not going to be supporting keeping this going forward," Vetaw said.

In a statement released after the vote, Ellison, Osman and Chugtai criticized the vote as going against “the spirit of inclusion Minneapolis prides itself on. Muslims have been serving on the Minneapolis City Council for a decade now, and thousands of Muslims live in our city.”

“Council Leadership had plenty of opportunity to proceed ethically today: they could have scheduled the meeting to a later date; delayed this item to the next full Council meeting, giving us enough time to still meet the ballot deadline if that would’ve been the Council’s will; or, most importantly, given that this was only an introduction and not a finished policy, the Council could have simply advanced the policy to committee the way we do all other ordinance introductions.”

The Wednesday meeting was scheduled more than a year ago to accommodate Eid, which at the time had been predicted to fall Thursday. But the date is subject to change depending on lunar observations.

In 2021, Minneapolis voters authorized the city council to regulate rent. Earlier this year, the council asked the city attorney’s office to draft a rent control ordinance that would fix rent increases at 3 percent each year.

But a city staff report in April recommended against passing a rent control ordinance, and Mayor Jacob Frey has indicated that he would veto the 3 percent measure.

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