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Local governments in Wisconsin do not have the authority to enact rent control.

Under state law, “No city, village, town or county may regulate the amount of rent or fees charged for the use of a residential rental dwelling unit.”

The state of Wisconsin also cannot control rents as, “There are no state laws limiting the amount of a rent increase,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Many states, including most of Wisconsin’s neighbors, have laws that prevent localities from enacting rent control. Others, such as Oregon and California, have statewide rent control.

Some cities have their own policies. Republican lawmakers in Minnesota unsuccessfully moved to cancel rent control measures approved by voters in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Officials in Madison have pointed to the state law to explain why they cannot regulate rent increases, some reaching 20% a year for student renters.


Wisconsin State Legislature: Wis. Stat. § 66.1015 (1)

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection: Tenants’ Rights and Responsibilities FAQs

National Multifamily Housing Council: Rent Control Laws by State

KARE-TV: Senate moves to ban rent control in Minnesota

Saint Paul Minnesota: Rent Stabilization Rules and Processes (2022)

Wisconsin State Journal: Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway considering strategies to prevent gentrification, displacement

The Daily Cardinal: Multiple off-campus Madison apartments to increase prices Minnesota Laws on Rent Increases & Fee Limits (Upd. 2022)

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Hope Karnopp / Wisconsin WatchReporting intern

Hope Karnopp joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism major and is pursuing certificates in public policy and environmental studies at UW-Madison. Hope previously covered state politics as an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She also works with the Daily Cardinal and hosts a radio segment about campus news for WORT-FM, which has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club.