Rent control is beneficial as it protects tenants from price hikes and potential eviction, infers the Tenants Together group in Medium. Crucially, it does not freeze rents. It stabilizes them to ensure that prices go up at a reasonable rate every year. This can be determined with calculations based on inflation and the Consumer Price Index. Rent control makes sure landlords can’t raise rent as they please, which is a particular issue for low-income households as they risk displacement. Arguments that it lowers the quality of housing or even causes rents to rise are wrong. Housing is a necessity. Every citizen’s housing rights should be protected.
Rent control may be well-intentioned but it does more harm than good, argues Noah Smith of Bloomberg. First and foremost, it creates housing shortages. When prices aren’t allowed to go up naturally, like the market would have them, cities become cluttered, cutting off people that want to move in. San Francisco’s rent control policies pushed landlords to demolish old buildings and replace them with new ones pushing out the local tenants. Often they had to be forced to move, which is a highly traumatic process. According to one study, the city’s 1995 rent control policies increased rent prices by 5.1%.