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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?

Yes, rent caps are a good idea Show more Show less

Rent caps keep rents affordable and prevent displacement.
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Rent caps prevent displacement

Rent caps prevent families from being forced out of communities because of rising rents, promoting neighbourhood and community diversity.

Context

As prices increase, existing low-income tenants (particularly minorities) are often forced out of desirable areas and into areas further out of the city. Rent caps prevent established families from being forced out of areas with rapidly rising property and rental prices.

The Argument

Rent caps reduce renter mobility by around 20%. This means that families and communities that are established in a location do not have to move to another rental property and community as often as they would if rents were determined by the market alone.[1] Minority communities, who tend to be low-income, are disproportionately affected by displacement. They are often forced to leave communities they have lived in for decades because gentrification has pushed rents up. In this regard, rent caps are a valuable tool for preserving minority housing rights and neighbourhood racial, cultural and economic diversity.

Counter arguments

Renter displacement is part of the natural process of improving urban living spaces. As rents increase and higher earners enter a location, local businesses do better and the local community receives higher revenue. With this revenue, they are able to provide better public services, improve local amenities, and raise the quality of life for everyone in the city.

Proponents

Framing

Everybody has the right to remain in the location where they have built community capital (friends, school connections, community affiliations etc.) for as long as they feel inclined. They should not be forced out by any external forces, including price hikes. Diversity and the reduction of homogeneity is positive.

Premises

[P1] Rent caps prevent rapid rent increases. [P1] Therefore, people are not forced out of areas because of rising rents. [P3] Therefore, rent caps are a good idea because they prevent displacement.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Renter displacement allows cities to improve and communities to get better. Therefore, rent caps are not a good idea because they prevent displacement.

References

  1. https://www.curbed.com/2019/10/15/20915405/rent-control-does-it-work-2020-election

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This page was last edited on Monday, 20 Apr 2020 at 12:28 UTC

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