Rent Control Myths

Myths About Rent Control

Boogie-man propaganda that landlords want you to blindly accept

Over 25 years in California, Rent Control has proven itself to be the only means of controlling the inflationary spiral of rents ruining our economy. None of the evils predicted by its opponents have come true. Rents and rental conditions in uncontrolled areas have gotten worse. As though the public would believe anything, anti-rent control groups repeat the same myths.

“Rent Control Doesn’t Work”
This is a popular slogan because it explains nothing. Rent control certainly keeps rents down, which is why the opponents oppose it. Rent Control never pretended to be a panacea. It is especially effective without vacancy decontrol.

“Let the Free Market solve the problem”
Having tenants organizing for rent control IS the free market: a consumer revolt, like a boycott. The market forces have had 25 years to solve the housing crisis. They built condos, not apartments. Supply failed to meet demand. Time for results.

“Home Prices will Fall”
In 1990-2000, local home prices in uncontrolled cities fell while those in rent controlled cities rose dramatically. Rent control helps tenants save up the down payment, raising demand [and therefore the price] for houses. Only highly desirable cities need rent control, to maintain economic balance in the community. Rent Control give a city prestige.

“If rents go up, richer tenants move in.”
Rents are going up everywhere, not just in one building, so why move?  Tenants pull in their belts, instead. Our median income has not increased along with rising rents.Our stores lose sales to our renting population, who pay more and more rent. Landlords 1, Merchants 0. Do our merchants need this?

“Neighborhoods will deteriorate”
Without rent control, our city’s deterioration needs Building Inspectors to force landlords to fix their buildings, not being paid to look the other way. Landlords without rent control lack incentive: they get higher rents without making repairs.

“Rent Control Brings in the bad element”
Rent control stabilizes neighborhoods. Tenants can form a Neighborhood Watch. Without rent control, crime has risen. Landlords can always evict problem tenants, even under rent control. Rent controlled Beverly Hills, Palm Springs, Santa Monica, and San Francisco have not invited the “bad element”.

“Rent Control destroyed Santa Monica
Did it really? In what way? Will the landlords take us on a tour of the destruction? No, because it’s never been true. If anything, State imposed vacancy decontrol has removed much of the affordable housing there. Landlords did that.

“Landlords will go broke, lose life savings”
By our Constitution, rent control must permit ALL expenses plus a decent profit from rents. It is beyond Blue Chip investment. Landlords in rent controlled California cities have had 25 years to divest, but they haven’t. Why is that?