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Columbus community members want to regulate rent costs in the city

University of California, Berkeley freshmen Sanaa Sodhi, right, and Cheryl Tugade look for apartments in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, March 29, 2022. Millions of college students in the U.S. are trying to find an affordable place to live as rents surge nationally, affecting seniors, young families and students alike. Sodhi is looking for an apartment to rent with three friends next fall, away from the dorms but still close to classes and activities on campus. They've budgeted at least $5,200 for a two-bedroom.
Eric Risberg
/
AP
A community-led fair housing group in Columbus is advocating for rent control in the city as rates continue to rise at an alarming pace.

A community-led fair housing group in Columbus is advocating for rent control in the city as rates continue to rise at an alarming pace.

The Columbus Coalition for Rent Control wants to establish a Department of Fair Housing to limit rent costs and require licenses for landlords on open market housing.

Jonathan Beard serves on the board. He spent 22 years as president of the Columbus Compact Corporation, a community development non-profit.

“If Columbus truly is an opportunity city, it’s got to be an opportunity city for everybody,” Beard said.

The proposed department would gather data from past rent prices for units and exclude pandemic inflation increases. Those costs would be applied to Fair Market Rent data and wages from a Bureau of Labor Statistics index.

The coalition wants the department established no later than April 1, 2025. The data gathered by the group would then be escalated to match rent totals and wages for that year.

Beard said a petition would require over 5,200 signatures to hit the ballot. The city has 10 days to review it before they can gather signatures.