Rent control was enacted in 1920.

A sepia-toned image of a row of four-story residential buildings on Mt. Vernon Street in Boston, taken in March 1920. The buildings are in the background; a large snowbank is in the foreground.


Chapter 578 of the Acts of 1920 prohibited rent increases of more than 25% for most rentals. 

Increases for extenuating circumstances, such as major repairs, could be appealed. 

This expired in 1923. 

A black and white wide shot of the intersection of Beach Street and Harrison Avenue in Boston, taken in June 1942. Tall buildings line both sides of the street, and cars are parked along one side of the road.


The Emergency Price Control Act passed nationally, enacting rent stabilization in areas designated as “defense rental areas.” 

This affected areas throughout Massachusetts. 

It was repealed in 1946.  

A color photograph of a neighborhood street in Boston with mixed zoning. Commercial stores and markets are on the first floors; residential apartments are located above them. The street does not have any cars, but people are visible on the sidewalk in the distance.


Municipalities with populations over 50,000 were authorized to enact rent control. 

Boston, Lynn, Somerville, Brookline and Cambridge adopted rent control policies. 

Unlike previous rent control laws, these would last a long time.