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Are rent caps a good idea? Show more Show less

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 keep rent affordable

Rent caps ensure that rents do not increase at a higher rate than wages, elevating everyone's quality of life.
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Context

Limiting the amount a landlord can charge a tenant ensures that rents do not rapidly rise year-on-year.

The Argument

When implemented effectively, rent caps protect both new tenants from paying wildly inflated rents,and existing tenants from facing exorbitant rent increases midway through their tenancy. These measures keep rents affordable in cities where wages are not keeping pace with rent increases.

Counter arguments

Rent caps may keep rents affordable in the short term, but in the long term they do the opposite. Rent caps that keep rents below the market rate incentivize property sales among landlords, leading to a reduced stock of rental properties. The basic rules of supply and demand mean that with fewer rental properties on the market, rents will go up in the long term. Any gains of rent caps in the short term are eliminated in the long term.[1]

Framing

Government interference in markets can be a good thing when used correctly.

Premises

[P1] Rent caps limit the amount landlords can charge tenants in rent. [P2] Therefore, they allow the government to set maximum rental rates. [P3] The government can keep rents from rising faster than wages. [P4] Therefore, there will always be affordable housing.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P4] In the long term, rent caps lead to less affordable housing.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.brookings.edu/research/what-does-economic-evidence-tell-us-about-the-effects-of-rent-control/

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This page was last edited on Monday, 20 Apr 2020 at 11:51 UTC