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Public hearing on bill that would cap rent in Connecticut draws in hundreds

The hearing was delayed several hours due to an internet outage at the Legislative Office Building.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Hundreds of people waited several hours to have their voices heard on a bill that would cap annual rent increases at 4%.

A public hearing for the Housing Committee was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on Tuesday but was delayed until 3 p.m. due to an internet outage at the Legislative Office Building.

"To have the schedule thrown off by so much and then ask people to stay up late in the night to participate in this really, really vital public hearing is a strain it’s a burden on folks," said Luke Melonakos-Harrison, with the CT Tenants Union.

Once the Legislative Office Building was back online lawmakers started to hear from people about their concerns with the price of rent in Connecticut.

"Having stable, affordable, housing would allow me to budget from my children’s needs without worrying about uncertain rental costs," said Lynelle Schmidt of New Haven.

"Rent in Connecticut is only affordable if you are making at least $60,000 a year which many of us struggle to do," said Robin David of Danbury.

Advocates for this legislation say the state is already seeing the impacts of those prices.

"Children’s homelessness went up 25% in one year, rents have increased on average 20% in two years, the housing crisis is affecting so many of our Connecticut residents," Melonakos-Harrison said.

Landlords said they agree there is a housing problem that needs to be addressed.

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"We need the state to make it easier to build housing, we need the state to take away the zoning problems," said John Souza, president of the CT Coalition of Property Owners.

However, they disagree on rent caps being the solution.

"Rent caps are never the solution to the affordability problem and economists on both sides of the aisle agreed. We have an apartment supply problem and developers want to be part of the affordability solution," said Lauren Tagliatela, chief community officer for Franklin Communities.

Advocates held a news conference Tuesday morning ahead of the hearing before it was delayed.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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