Can the Affordable Housing Crisis Be Solved With Rent Control?

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Would rent control protocols help solve the affordable housing crisis? What is rent control and why is it so controversial?

Years of soaring rents have led some Democrats to call on the White House to implement national rent control regulations. Supporters argue that national rent control is urgently needed. Critics contend that federal rent control rules would harm renters, landlords, and communities

Keep reading to learn more about national rent control.

The Affordable Housing Crisis in the US

US rents have skyrocketed nationwide, jumping nearly 18% in 2021 and another 4% last year. The median rent now exceeds $2,000 per month, causing an affordable housing crisis. In response, Democrats have urged President Biden to enact nationwide rent control regulations—but experts warn that such measures could worsen the problem they seek to solve.

What Is Rent Control?

“Rent control” refers to laws that limit how much landlords can raise rents on rental properties. The regulations aim to help lower-income households afford stable housing and keep up with cost-of-living expenses.

With nationwide rents rising at the fastest pace in decades and an affordable housing crisis at hand, Congressional progressive Democrats and other activists argue that sweeping national rent control measures are urgently needed to help economically vulnerable Americans struggling to keep up with soaring rents.

Key Arguments for National Rent Control

Supporters of national rent control, including tenant advocates, progressive economists, and some Democrats contend that corporate landlords are spiking rents to maximize profits. They argue that imposing nationwide federal rent control regulations would:

  • Stabilize and make housing costs more affordable for tenants by capping rent increases.
  • Prevent evictions and homelessness, which would, in turn, reduce spending on services like emergency room visits, jail and prison stays, and court system costs.

Congressional Democrats have urged President Biden to take executive action against “corporate price gouging” in the housing sector. They assert that sweeping nationwide rent control measures are necessary to ensure basic housing affordability amid the rental affordability crisis. They’ve also called on:

Key Arguments Against National Rent Control

Critics of national rent control, including housing industry associations, some Republican lawmakers, and mainstream economists, counter that while rent control policies benefit people already occupying rental units, they fail to solve the long-term problem of high housing costs and inadequate supply.

Moreover, they argue that heavy-handed nationwide rent control regulations, while well-intentioned, would harm tenants, landlords, and communities over the long run and worsen the country’s affordable housing crisis by:

Looking Ahead

Many housing experts agree that building more affordable housing is critical over the long term, but it will take time for supply to meet demand. In the interim, a balanced approach that implements rent regulation measures cautiously, while also supporting housing development, could provide relief for tenants in need and potentially avoid some of the most severe unintended consequences:

Can the Affordable Housing Crisis Be Solved With Rent Control?

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Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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