SALISBURY — In an effort to gain control of the spiraling cost of living in Salisbury for many residents, Mayor Jim Ireton, Jr. this week forwarded to the City Council an ambitious rent stabilization initiative aimed and reversing a long trend.
Ireton announced this week he was forwarding to the City Council rent stabilization legislation engineered to give relief to families who are overburdened by excessive rents. Ireton said he believes stabilizing growing rental rates in the city could free up the renters’ income and put $8 million into the economy annually.
From 2000 to 2008, rents in Salisbury rose dramatically, overtaking the national average, as a result of increased energy costs and a doubling of the average home price. Even after the real estate crash of 2008, rents in Salisbury continued to rise while median household income fell by nearly $8,500.
According to U.S. Census data, 59 percent of renting households in Salisbury are cost-burdened due to high rent and 36 percent of households are severely cost-burdened. This means that over 1,600 Salisbury households are paying between 30 percent and 50 percent of their income for rental housing costs and an additional 2,700 households are paying over 50 percent of their income for rental costs.
Ireton’s Rent Stabilization legislation, if passed by the city council, would have the effect of bringing rents into an affordable range for cost-burdened Salisbury residents. It is estimated that the savings from lower rents would increase local consumer spending by $8 million per year, money that could be injected back into the local economy.
“We hear so much about economic development in our civil discourse today,” said Ireton. “So let’s talk about the economic part of that. Our residents pay far too much for the quality of the rentals that they live in, and far too many of them are severely cost-burdened.”
Ireton said the proposed legislation would reduce rents throughout the city and end decades of a spiraling cost of living for many in Salisbury.
“In the end, renters know when they are paying too much in rent,” he said. “It’s when there’s no money left on the second of the month. We have tried endlessly for 30 years to address the problem of the greed of the rental industry in Salisbury. This Rent Stabilization Program is good for our residents, good for the local economy, and will allow the City to get a return on the investment it makes in its citizens.”