5 Reasons Rent Control Doesn’t Work

  1. Decreases Housing Supply

Housing units are lost from the supply when rent control is put in place.

Developers will choose to build de-controlled new homes, condominiums, office buildings, or simply not to build at all, investing their funds elsewhere.

  1. Decreases Low Income Tenants

Low-income tenants—including students, elderly, and disabled persons, and those receiving public assistance—have been displaced by people who can pay substantial “finder’s fees” and who are more attractive as tenants.

  1. Reduction in Quality/Maintenance

A ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available. Landlords must let unit quality deteriorate to the point where the controlled rent is actually the market price, or they cannot afford the unit.

Rent controls discourage new construction, cause abandonment, retard maintenance, reduce mobility, generate mismatch between housing units and tenants, exacerbate discrimination in rental housing, create black markets, encourage the conversion of rental to owner-occupied housing, and generally short-circuit the housing market.

  1. Decreases Housing Turnover and Misallocates Housing

This creates an incentive to stay in the same apartment, which leads people to remain in the same apartment even if their tastes and conditions change. Tenants may apply for or remain settled in apartments that do not well suit their needs simply because the apartment carries a low price.

  1. Increases Unemployment/Decreases Worker Mobility

Decreases the mobility of the labor force by making tenants reluctant to move from a rent-controlled apartment. The inefficient use of time and resources associated with extended commutes, leads to a decline in the quality of job matches for residents. Rather than imposing rent control we should be utilizing rent vouchers to increase the availability of housing in the private sector.

HB 2583 does not yet have an identical bill introduced in the Senate, but likely a similar bill will be introduced shortly.  The sponsors of this legislation include:  Representatives Macri, Gregerson, Frame, Pollet, Dolan, Peterson, Appleton, Wylie, Cody, Tarleton, Robinson.

This bill was referred to Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affair Committee and is awaiting a hearing.  We will notify you once the bill is scheduled for a hearing to come to Olympia and testify in front of the committee in opposition of this bill.

In the meantime, we ask that all our WLA members contact their 2 House of Representative members and all the members of the Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affair Committee, to OPPOSE HB 2583.

Mark Gjurasic, WLA Lobbyist – January 2018

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