Rent Control Ballot Question Filed

August 3, 2023

- By The MAR Legal Team

On August 2nd, Massachusetts State Representative Mike Connolly announced his filing of an initiative petition on rent control. MAR has long anticipated and been preparing for this situation. The petition is the first step (of many) to getting a question on the ballot for the 2024 election. It requires only gathering ten signatures and filing language with the Attorney General’s office.  


Here’s what happens next: 

  • The Attorney General will then determine if the petition meets the state’s constitutional requirements, usually by the first Wednesday in September (9/6).  
  • Certified petitions are then filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. At that point, petitioners have 77 days to collect 74,574 signatures.  
  • If that hurdle is met, the petition moves to the Legislature in January 2024. The Legislature has until May 1, 2024 to pass the measure, propose a substitute, or take no action.  
  • If the Legislature passes the measure it moves to the ballot.  
  • If the Legislature does not, the petitioner can still get it on the ballot if they collect 12,429 more signatures by July 3, 2024.    

The state also requires the formation of a ballot question committee in order to raise and spend funds on a campaign to support or oppose ballot questions. A statement of organization must first be filed with the Office of Campaign Finance followed by regular reports. No statement of organization has yet been filed for any committees related to this petition. 


The Connolly proposal goes significantly further than rent control. It includes a list of policies currently under state control that municipalities could seize including regulating and limiting: 

  • Rent 
  • Rental fees such as deposits and broker’s compensation 
  • Evictions 
  • Removal of housing units from the rental market including by demolition or conversion to condos or homeownership 

It authorizes municipalities to institute damages for violations related to these matters including fines and criminal prosecution. 

The proposal exempts existing 2- or 3-family owner-occupied buildings and all new rental units for 15-years. 

MAR will continue its longstanding advocacy on this issue in support of private property rights.