Everything About Rent Control




Assar Lindbeck, a Swedish economist who chaired the Nobel prize committee for many years, once reportedly declared that rent control is “the best way to destroy a city, other than bombing.”

Didn’t you say rent control was a positive in SF’s favor?


Not sure where you got that from me. I am all about free markets in an ideal world, despite being an owner. The thing is, I am not so greedy to think that capping the housing availability is necessarily the best thing if one wants a diverse, well balanced city. Sure, I enjoy the fruits no doubt about it, but it is also not something I can change by myself either.



Rent control is well-researched topic and the conclusions are repeated over and over. The people who want rent control clearly understand it and I believe also agree on the damage it causes (even though they don’t say it). But as we has discuss before it’s a simple matter of selfishness (which is understandable). The people who want rent control are expressing a desire with the full understanding of the consequences, and they still would choose rent control despite the consequences. Basically it’s an “screw you, but I want my housing stability” attitude. I am not putting any judgement on that, just pointing out that action speaks louder than words, and this is what they are speaking with their actions.

The part I don’t understand is why people are not willing to come up with compromises. It’s either no rent control, or rent control for life with no chance of sunset. In my view rent control with an expiration date is much easier to swallow for landlords, and is more fair too. Asking a landlord to provide rent-controlled housing to a tenant for life goes too much against the free market spirit. When rents are rising and tenants can’t keep up, in order to prevent mass displacement (i.e. do social good), rent control is an effective method to keep tenants in place. But all these tenant movements and lawmake bills and votes and heated confrontations all indicate that it’s not a good balance point between free market and social good. Nothing should be forever, and even government welfare programs are not forever, why should rent control be for forever? In states like California where tenants are powerful and have bigger bargain power, it’s understandable that they want the full suite and not willing to settle for less. But in states and cities where the resistance to rent control is much stronger, tenant activists could have come up with a softer version of rent control that would make it easier for people to agree on. But so far nobody is willing to even consider this kind of compromise yet. That is a sign of greed in my view.


Most of the issue could be fixed by limiting office space development unless a city is developing a proper ratio of housing too. Building space for 8 jobs to every 1 housing unit isn’t sustainable. That’s a zoning/planning issue. Additionally, a lot could be done to reduce the cost of residential construction, but the government has convinced everyone we need all those fees and permits to keep us safe.


Agreed 100000%!!! Everyone knows the arguments of both sides, so to not try and devise a policy that is reasonable is atypical of our lame leaders and legislators.


Leaders today are not interested in solutions. Only in pandering to their base and making pompous speeches


Perhaps a tad naive, but I still like to think most politicians get into the game to make a difference. To be the one who came up with a worthy enough rent regulation policy let’s call it would be noteworthy I think anyway. It could go a long way in freeing up supposedly vacant units that owners are leaving out of the market, etc…


Trump promised that. But does anyone believe what politicians say. I think Trump got elected because he wasn’t a politician. I don’t think it will end well
The Mr Smith goes to Washington type politician is a myth.


I think most of them get into politics because that’s what they are good at. In the end, like the rest of us, it is a way for them to make a living.


Right, so if one actually came up with a novel solution to the housing crisis wouldn’t that be a nice resume item that could result in a higher pay grade job? Come on, we’ve put people in the WH who have done less for society…


Unfortunately, solving problem is not their forte. They have to score with something else. That’s the scary part.


People want sympathy not solutions. Bill Clinton said I feel your pain. Ttump said he would help the middle class middle American… The both lied…


Menlo park tried that and it failed. I have NO CLUE why. Seemed like a sure thing to me.


Menlo Park is obsessed with keeping out progress and business… Thank god they failed…


In Chula Vista near San Diego the developers put all the charges by the city and place them in Mello Roos taxes for the first 20 years. It comes out to about $200 per unit. I did not like paying them but my place is about 15 years old so I will be done with them in a few years. It does make the housing a little bit cheaper.


How’d they try it? Did it result in no new development?


One city does not make a difference. It needs the whole metro areas to have the same policy.

But CA economic growth is very slow now, 35th in the country. I guess we may need to worry about lack of growth soon instead of too much growth


Is that what good old Bill said, or just " I want to feel you…"?