The One-Way Rent Control Ratchet

Source: Reason
by Christian Britschgi

“When California’s rent-control law was working its way through the Legislature in 2019, its author, Assemblyman David Chiu (D–San Francisco), said the policy was a necessary means of stopping the state’s most egregious rent hikes. … By addressing the immediate issue, Chiu said the state would have some breathing room to build the homes it needs to fix its housing emergency in the long term. Fast forward four years, home construction rates have been basically stagnant in California, rents and home prices are up, and lawmakers are calling for tighter rent controls to fix the immediate housing crisis. … It’s a truism too that it’s easier to tighten an existing policy than implement a new one. It’s the difference between substituting one line of code for another versus passing a whole new policy all by itself.” (03/16/23)