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Rent Control is Not the Answer

Digested from GlobeSt.

“Rent Control is a failed policy.” – Greg Brown, National Apartment Association (NAA) Senior Vice President for Government Affairs

Last month, Greg Brown opened the GlobeSt. Apartments conference with an in-depth dive into the national proliferation of rent control policies and the detrimental effects they have on the apartment industry.

The conference came on the heels of California’s adoption of a statewide rent control measure, AB 1482. However, California is only the most recent state to pursue such policies—New York and Oregon have embraced similar policies, and states and municipalities throughout the country are eyeing such measures.

All of this despite the glaring fact that, as Brown explained, “Forty years of research has proven rent control is the wrong answer. It is a failed policy. Full stop.”

There is an urgent need to address housing and housing affordability issues. Shifting demographic trends have seen apartment residents remain in the rental market longer, and the U.S. rental population is at an all-time high—placing housing affordability issues top of mind for millions of Americans and fueling legislators’ quest for quick solutions. Rent control is, without contest, the most onerous policy proposal facing apartment owners, operators and residents alike.

Like legislators, a majority of people (60 percent) support rent control because they believe that it is the only solution to the housing affordability crisis. But, as Brown points out, this is not the case and there is room to shift the conversation with alternative ideas.

As Brown explained to GlobeSt., these efforts “…aren’t going away and a lot of new states are going in that direction. We are going to see more activity in this area. We are going to have to get used to this fight. Policy makers need to hear from our side.”

The industry must unite to present responsible and sustainable alternatives to rent control policies. Efforts in favor of rent control have dominated conversations and continue to gain traction, aided by the evolving political makeup of the country. Traditionally conservative states are looking at rent control measures, showing that the issue is not strictly partisan.

In a message to the GlobeSt. audience and broader industry alike, Brown emphasized that, “This is the new normal, at least for the next five years.” As an industry, we must take a seat at the political table and fight back against these onerous policies, both current and in the future.

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