Landlords who drastically raised rents or evicted longtime tenants without cause just before a statewide tenant-protection law took effect might have thought they were making a point about government overreach. But in fact, they merely proved why the law was needed in the first place.

That doesn’t help the tenants affected by their landlords’ vindictiveness, but at least the same fate won’t befall tenants from now on.

The Legislature last month passed the nation’s first statewide rent control law, which capped but did not prohibit rent increases, and limited but did not eliminate no-cause evictions. Not only did the bill’s authors go out of their way to take it easy on rental owners, they left in place a statewide ban on local rent-control ordinances, which could have been far more restrictive than the new state law.

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