Re: The rising cost of rent in Waterloo Region — Dec. 22
In a 2012 survey of economists by the University of Chicago, only two percent agreed that rent control has a positive impact on the amount and quality of affordable rental housing; 81 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed. A study by Stanford University on San Francisco’s 1995 rent control laws found that they actually increased the cost of rent by five percent. This is because rent controls incentivize landlords to shift their use of property to dwellings not covered by controls (condos, perhaps) and then raise rents (this also forces occupants to move, often to poorer neighborhoods). The study found that the supply of properties covered by controls decreased by 15 percent.
Rent control makes landlords less likely to properly maintain their units.
An alternative to rent control is to tax all landlords and use the revenue to help renters whose costs increase. This helps people live where they like and spreads cost increases across the entire market, rather than hurting the most vulnerable.