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Are rent caps a good idea? Show more Show less
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Rent caps, which set limits on permissible rent charges or cap annual rent increases during tenancies, have been adopted by many cities as a way of curbing rising rents. But do rent caps actually work? Do they keep city rents affordable? Or are they part of the problem?

No, rent caps are not a good idea Show more Show less

Rent caps fail at their basic function of keeping rents affordable.
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Rent caps lead to poorer quality rental units

Rent caps reduce landlord returns on investment. This leaves less cash on hand for home improvements and property maintenance.
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The Argument

When landlords make less money, they have less capital to spend on property improvements and maintenance, leading to poorer quality properties on the rental market.[1] There is also less incentive to invest in high-quality rental units. Once renters are in the unit and benefit from the rent caps, they are less likely to move out. Therefore, landlords don’t need to maintain high-quality housing units.

Counter arguments

Rent caps, when introduced effectively, can improve the quality of rented accommodation. When landlords make significant renovations and improvements to the quality of their property, they should be given an exemption from rent caps, thereby incentivizing property improvement, while protecting renters from arbitrary price hikes.[2]

Premises

[P1] Rent caps reduce landlord earnings. [P2] This leaves less money for landlords to spend on property improvements. [P3] Therefore, over time, it leads to lower-quality rental housing.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Rent caps can be implemented in a way that rewards investment in property improvements. [Rejecting P3] Therefore, rent caps do not have to lead to reduced quality rental housing.

References

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJvTTGOHFkU
  2. https://jacobinmag.com/2019/11/rent-control-housing-crisis-affordability-supply

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This page was last edited on Monday, 20 Apr 2020 at 12:49 UTC

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