Rent Control

In Colorado, the cost of housing continues to increase as demand outpaces supply. In turn, the cost of rent is increasing almost as fast as the cost of housing units.  This causes some Coloradans to struggle to afford rent.  As a solution, some Colorado state legislators have proposed the idea of rent control.  However, governmental price fixing does more harm than good. Rent control policies make the problem worse by reducing the incentives to build new housing units or improve existing housing units. The solution to Colorado’s housing shortage is to create more housing, preserve existing housing, 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 and keep rents the same.
  • Proponents also believe: “Rent control is the quickest and easiest way to provide relief to renters 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 renters 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”).

Opponents Say…

  • Rent control cause renters to hold on to large apartments they may no longer need, and then often choose to illegally sublet, pushing many landlords out of the affordable rental housing business, making matters worse. (paraphrased from PEW 2018).
  • Rent control does NOT help new renters.
  • Numerous studies show that units deteriorate in value as a result rent control.
  • According to a January study by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, “rent control creates both winners and losers, even among renters. Longtime renters who have been living in rent-controlled units benefit greatly from rent control, while new renters end up paying higher rents because the supply of available units is constricted” (PEW 2018).
  • Landlords 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. Landlords 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



Freakonomics: Why Rent Control Doesn’t Work (Ep. 373)


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?