Rent control produces dismal results for renters and cities

Advocacy News,

While I find myself largely in agreement with the June 26 Sun-Times editorial “Chicago has to push more affordable housing across the whole city,” I would like to emphasize one additional point of importance. 

Some view the policy of rent control as a helpful tool in the noble cause of creating affordable housing, but history has proven exactly what the vast majority of economists have predicted: Rent control policies do not produce their intended results. 

There are four universal facts of rent control that should be considered, 1) Supply of affordable housing decreases due to diminished investment and condo conversions, 2) The quality of affordable housing decreases due to arbitrary price caps, 3) Property values erode causing the tax base to shrink, and 4) Systemic abuse occurs by unqualified applicants. 

Your editorial references San Francisco’s dilemma, and in fact, 2017 research of San Francisco’s rent controlled market conducted by Stanford University found that rent control reduced the rental supply by 6 percent, while causing an additional 7 percent increase in rental prices above market growth. Those dismal results are the opposite of what Chicago needs. 

Michael Mini, executive vice president, Chicagoland Apartment Association