Rent Control

The cost of rent in Colorado has increased.  This results in unaffordable rental properties for Coloradans. As a solution, some Colorado state legislators have proposed the idea of rent control. However, government price fixing, as it’s sometimes called, does more harm than good. Rent control policies make the problem worse by reducing the incentives to build new rental units or improve the existing units. The solution to Colorado’s rental shortage is to create more rental properties, preserve existing properties, and streamline the process of transferring housing from one user to the next.

Proponents of Rent Control Say…

  • Proponents believe that rent control will lower rent prices or keep rent the same.
  • Proponents also believe: “Rent control is the quickest and easiest way to provide relief to residents in danger of being priced out of their homes.” (PEW 2018).
  • According to a 2017 report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, “nearly half of residents fit the federal definition of ‘cost burdened,’ which means they spend at least 30% of their net income on housing.” Some think that rent control alleviates “cost burdens,” it does the opposite.

Opponents Say…

  • Rent control causes residents to hold on to large apartments they may no longer need, and, then, often choose to illegally sublet, pushing many housing providers out of the affordable rental housing business. (paraphrased from PEW 2018).
  • Rent control increases the cost of rent for those who can afford it and is not the solution to help new residents.
  • Numerous studies show that rental units deteriorate in value as a result rent control.
  • According to a January 2018 study by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, “Rent control creates both winners and losers, even among residents. Longtime residents who have been living in rent-controlled units benefit greatly from rent control, while new residents end up paying higher rents because the supply of available units is constricted.” (PEW 2018)
  • “Housing providers facing rent control regulations are far more likely to convert units into condos or redevelop buildings to circumvent rent control regulations, further reducing rental stock and driving up rents.” (PEW 2018)
  • According to Alexandra Alvarado, Director of Marketing and Education at the American Apartments Owners Association, “There is definitely a housing crisis, everyone agrees on that. However, we don’t agree on how to remedy that, rent control just is not the way to go about it. Housing providers are worried about rent control shortening the housing supply.” (Alvarado, 2018)
  • Rent Control does not preserve existing affordable units. According to Mark Willis, Senior Policy Fellow at New York University, “We need a comprehensive and balanced plan if we are going to begin to address the difficulty to finding affordable housing. To truly address the housing crisis, cities need to build more affordable housing: preserve existing affordable housing units; help people stay in their homes and help tenants find housing in resource rich and high opportunity neighborhoods.” (Willis, 2018)

Rent Control Explained

Videos:

Podcasts:

Freakonomics: Why Rent Control Doesn’t Work

Reports:

National Multifamily Housing Council Rent Control Fact Sheet

Samford Study: The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants, Landlords, and Inequality

PEW Research: Rent Control Is Making a Comeback. But Is That a Good Idea?

NMHC Toolkit: Rent Control

Modeling the Impacts of Rent Control