Democrats in a handful of US cities want to mitigate increasing rent prices by imposing caps.
Like most socialist ideas, rent caps sound good on paper but don’t work in real life. Here’s why:
Rent prices are high because there aren’t enough places to live. The obvious solution is to build more apartments.
Instead, Democrats want to limit rent increases to make housing more affordable. This will dissuade cities from building more apartments, exacerbate the housing shortages, and discourage landlords from making improvements to existing properties.
Nonetheless, Democrats are convinced that rent caps will help.
In February, Oregon passed a law which limits rent increases to 7% plus local inflation. Lawmakers in Colorado and New York are considering similar moves.
In California, rent control advocates are collecting signatures for a new ballot proposal that would give jurisdictions the ability to impose rent limits on properties that are at least 15 years old. The proposal also restricts rent increases on empty units.
“Among the 17 million renters in California, the suffering is unabated,” argues Michael Weinstein, who supports the proposal. “Not only do we see increased homelessness, but the affordability crisis has reached epic proportions with many people paying 50% or more of their income to keep a roof over their head.”
Rents in California are notoriously high. The average price for an apartment in San Francisco is about $3,600 per month (that’s about twice as high as Miami and Chicago).
The prospect of rent control comes during a time when the apartment business has been strong, and analysts expect the new bills to have a negative effect on the industry.
“It has been proven time and again that rent control does not work,” argues Sid Lakireddy, president of the California Rental Housing Association. “We do not need more distractions and resources spent on failed policies but instead we need policies that encourage more affordable and accessible housing.”
Editor’s note: Its amazing to me that after seeing every socialist experiment fail (the Soviet Union, Venezuela, etc.), they still drag out these kinds of policies and expect them to produce good results.