Iowa REALTORS® Almost Use Advocacy Everywhere to Oppose Rent Control Measure… but Legislators Saw Reason, Rendering the Effort Unnecessary

Iowa REALTORS® Almost Use Advocacy Everywhere to Oppose Rent Control Measure… but Legislators Saw Reason, Rendering the Effort Unnecessary

July 2024

When a bill allowing local municipalities to implement rent control surfaced in the Iowa House, Iowa REALTORS® understood what was at stake.  As housing experts, they knew that the perceived benefits of rent control are outweighed by its negative effects on housing affordability. So, they rallied allies in opposition and called on the REALTOR® Party for support.  When House leadership learned that a Call For Action was poised and ready to go, they reconsidered the bill – allowing it to die before it reached committee.

“We look at all proposed housing legislation through a lens of its impact on affordability,” says Government Affairs Director Greta Haas.  “This is especially true at a time of rising home buying and rental costs, especially as those increases affect our seniors on fixed incomes.  Also, so many REALTORS® are mom-and-pop rental property owners, so rent control measures would affect many of our members on the other side of the equation.”

The brief but significant threat of House File 2221 happened very quickly and was over within the span of a week, she reports, noting that Iowa had a shortened session early in 2024, because of the election year.  As soon as the bill dropped at the end of January, the REALTORS® began putting together a member-facing CFA.  “This was a couple of days before our Hill Day, so we were primed to send our legislators a powerful, in-person message,” says Haas.

The REALTORS® have the largest political action committee in the state, giving them the biggest possible presence on Hill Day.  Says Haas, “Every legislator knows at least one REALTOR®, who functions as their go-to subject-matter expert.  What’s more, they know our ability to build coalitions and wield influence.  That day, about two-thirds of the legislature heard directly from a REALTOR®, so our impact was clear.  We let them know that REALTORS® are all in favor of making housing affordable – but that rent control is not the avenue to do so.”

When House leadership caught wind that a CFA was in the works, they came out of their chamber to plead with Haas and Iowa REALTORS®’ contract lobbyist, Jen Kingland.  “Please don’t do this!  We get it!  It won’t go to committee!” they assured the team.

The victory was a relief, but Iowa REALTORS® isn’t resting on its laurels.  “We’ve been working hard to identify bills that will increase inventory and lower costs, and we’ll continue to oppose any that challenge affordability,” says Haas.  Recently, they secured property tax relief for seniors and veterans in Iowa; they’ve also worked with the state homebuilders association to pass legislation keeping down development costs for the consumer.

“We’re so thankful to the NAR team for their ability to get our message together so fast,” notes Haas.  She encourages other state and local GADs to leverage the REALTOR® Party’s advocacy tools.  “They make an impact in the advocacy space, amplifying your messaging so far beyond what you could otherwise do.  You may be thinking you don’t have the bandwidth to take it on, but once you make the call, they’ll make it easy.  You’ll be glad you did.”

To learn more about how Iowa REALTORS® is working to keep housing affordable, contact Government Affairs Director Greta Haas at or 715.308.1518.

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