Housing activists swarmed the front steps of the State House on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2019 before heading back inside to a legislative hearing on rent control. State House News Service photo | Sam Doran

Beacon Hill on Monday delivered its near-term answer to activists who want to reinstitute rent control: not yet.

The House granted an extension order to the Joint Committee on Housing, giving it until March 31 to make a decision on two rent control bills. The panel has been reviewing rent control since January 2019 and faced a reporting deadline Wednesday.

Fed up with high housing costs and the lack of action on Beacon Hill, activists and lawmakers have pressed this session to re-enable rent control, despite a cool reception from top elected officials.

“The housing crisis is moving beyond the poorest of the poor,” Rep. Nika Elugardo, who co-filed one of the bills that would allow communities to implement rent control, said at a rally last October. “The housing crisis has moved into the middle class and is creeping up beyond the middle class. Now that so-called ‘everyday people’ are experiencing the pain of the housing crisis, people are beginning to question how we do business around here.”

The extension applies to a bill (H.1316) filed by Rep. Dave Rogers of Cambridge and one (H.3924) sponsored by Elugardo and Rep. Michael Connolly of Cambridge.

Real estate industry groups and municipal leaders have promoted legislation to facilitate more housing production, but those bills have also failed to gain traction amid opposition from progressives, who see the bills as insufficient, and from officials in a handful of Boston suburbs.

Rent Control Bills Get Extension to Pass Key Committee

by State House News Service time to read: 1 min