Rent Control

Housing prices in markets with strong economic growth are skyrocketing. In many cities, lower-income families are effectively priced out of the housing market. In some areas, even middle-income families find themselves stretched to provide adequate housing for their families.

Numerous cities in the four states that permit local rent control and the District of Columbia have attempted to solve their high-rent crises by adopting some form of rent regulation. In some cases, the programs date back to World War II. Most tenant advocate groups and tenants lucky enough to locate rent-regulated housing praise the programs as lifesavers, citing protection from excessive rent increases, reduced tenant displacement, and reduced vacancies. But many analysts criticize any form of rent regulation, noting both negative economic effects on regulated housing markets and detrimental social effects in rent-regulated communities. Most economists strongly disagree that rent regulation creates a fairer housing market, arguing instead that it reduces the quantity and quality of available housing, discourages new construction, encourages eviction without just cause, increases rent for unprotected tenants, and creates other challenges for both landlords and tenants.


Questions? Contact Hugh Morris at 202-383-1278.

The opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policy of the National Association of REALTORS®, its members or affiliate organizations.