OLR Report 2015-R-0020 discusses (1) which states have laws authorizing local governments to adopt rent control ordinances and (2) the type of parameters these laws place on local governments.
Four states and the District of Columbia have laws authorizing rent control ordinances (California, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York). At least 32 others have laws prohibiting local jurisdictions from adopting these ordinances. In states where the statutes are silent, local governments may enact rent control ordinances pursuant to their general police powers, or they may be prohibited from doing so pursuant to case law, which is the case in Connecticut.
Generally, the rent control enabling laws set a framework under which municipal or county governments may adopt rent control ordinances. They commonly address (1) jurisdictions in which rent control may be established, (2) the method for calculating maximum rent, and (3) exempt properties. The laws leave it to local governments to implement rent control through ordinances that fall within the parameters established by statute. Thus, approaches vary considerably.
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