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Committee for Cambridge Rent Control records

Identifier: M166


The Committee for Cambridge Rent Control (CCRC) was founded by Cambridge Eviction Free Zone to develop an initiative petition to re-establish rent control in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2003, CCRC gathered enough signatures to place its initiative petition on the ballot for the November elections, but the measure failed to win enough votes to pass. CCRC disbanded in late 2003.


  • Creation: 1998-2003
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 2002-2003


Language of Materials

Materials predominantly in English, with some material in Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole.

Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Historical Note

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts overturned local rent control ordinances by statewide popular vote in 1994, though the measure was rejected by voters in cities that had rent control. Due to low vacancy rates and a lack of affordable housing, Cambridge declared a housing emergency in 1999. Cambridge Eviction Free Zone, a housing and economic justice organization, founded the Committee for Cambridge Rent Control in late 2002 into early 2003 to combat the Cambridge rental housing crisis through the re-establishment of rent control. CCRC grew into a coalition of Cambridge tenants, homeowners, landlords and grassroots organizations, including the Green Party.

CCRC developed an initiative petition that laid out a new rent control ordinance for Cambridge and required the City Council to submit a home rule petition to the Massachusetts Legislature to obtain an exception to the 1994 law, which would allow Cambridge to carry out the enforcement of rent control. In drafting its ordinance, CCRC studied rent control laws from around the world and worked to address the issues that made the previous Cambridge rent control ordinance politically untenable, such as its inflexibility, lack of income eligibility guidelines, and heavy restrictions on condominium conversion and rental. CCRC also worked to ensure fairness to small-scale and owner-occupant landlords. In addition to its committee meetings, CCRC held a public forum to raise awareness of rent control and solicit ideas from the community. CCRC also challenged the requirements for approving initiative petitions, citing large numbers of ineligible voters still on the rolls and low voter turnout, which CCRC argued made it excessively difficult to garner the one-third of registered voters required to approve an initiative petition.

CCRC gathered enough signatures from Cambridge voters to place its initiative petition on the ballot for the November 2003 election; a previous attempt by Cambridge Citizens United for Rent Equity (CCURE) in 1999 had failed to obtain enough signatures to make it onto the ballot. At the polls, CCRC's measure failed to pass, and CCRC disbanded soon after.


0.70 cubic feet (2 containers)

System of Arrangement:

Arranged in one alphabetical sequence.

Physical Location


Custodial History:

Committee for Cambridge Rent Control records were donated to the Archives in November, 2007.

Related Archival Materials:

Finding aid for the Committee for Cambridge Rent Control Records
Finding aid prepared by Dominique Medal
October 2009
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Snell Library
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US