Advocates for rent control say that these policies are necessary to keep landlords from raising prices beyond the ability of people to afford them. But rent-control critics note that the rules actually increase rent prices, especially over the long term, by dampening the supply of apartments.
In cities where the market reigns, people tend to be mobile, but in places such as San Francisco tenants stay put in their apartments given that they don’t want to leave their rent-controlled units. So few apartments become available. Restrictions on rent prices diminish the incentive of landlords to improve the buildings, thus leading to more substandard buildings, rent-control critics argue.
It’s not just conservatives who say so. “History has shown that the best intentioned plans of protecting tenants through rent control don’t necessarily help the low-income residents who need it most – and can actually aggravate a housing shortage, which drives up prices for those desperate to find a place to live,” opined the liberal-oriented San Francisco Chronicle.