WBUR Poll: Rent Control Supported By Most Boston Voters

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Housing along Pleasant Street in Charlestown. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Housing along Pleasant Street in Charlestown. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

More than three-quarters of Boston voters support rent control to rein in soaring housing costs, according to a new WBUR poll (toplines, crosstabs).

One rent control supporter is Maria Mangiafico of East Boston. Mangiafico said she’s lived in Eastie for 65 years and seen a huge improvement in the neighborhood. 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% 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.

MassINC Polling Group conducted the survey of 552 Boston registered voters for WBUR, the Dorchester Reporter and the Boston Foundation. The poll has an overall margin of error of 4.9%.

This segment aired on April 14, 2021.


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Simón Rios Reporter
Simón Rios is an award-winning bilingual reporter in WBUR's newsroom.



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