MEREDA Matters

Get Out the Vote! - Responsible Rent Control with Brit Vitalius and Jessica James

Episode Summary

Brit Vitalius, President of Rental Housing Alliance (RHA) and Principal at Vitalius Real Estate Group, and Jessica James, Principal at Longfellow Communications, sit down with MEREDA Board Member Gary Vogel and MEREDA President Craig Young for the fifth episode of MEREDA Matters - the podcast that puts you in the room with the people who are driving responsible development in Maine. Vitalius and James discuss the RHA’s Rent Control Amendment, a grassroots effort to enact a critical change to Portland’s rent control that would allow landlords to reset the rent in vacant units to market rate. The pair discusses how the amendment, which is on the upcoming June 13th ballot, would have a significant positive impact on both existing tenants and rental housing providers. Vitalius shares the history of the Rent Control ordinance in Portland’s elections and outlines some of its unintended consequences. For example, since the ordinance passed in 2020, many tenants have seen more rent increases as landlords try to keep pace with the market. James discusses the issue of having voters trying to parse complex policy and the burden it places on rental housing providers. Vitalius explains how the Rent Control Amendment will maintain all the current protections for tenants and argues it is what’s best for housing development in Portland. The group discusses the problems with the referendum process in Portland and finishes the discussion by urging people to get out and vote on June 13th. Is it Brit or Jessica who enjoys a dirty vodka martini at the end of a busy day? Listen to the conversation to find out!