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Opinion: Rent Control Is About Politics Not Housing

Opinion: Rent Control Is About Politics Not Housing

Roger Valdez outlines why rent control may have less to do with housing than advocates claim.

Before the recent election I undertook the task of analyzing the policy of rent control. When I started digging into the literature about and the history of the idea of the government limits on what property owners charge their customers for renting it, I was already opposed to the policy.

Digging deeper into the topic didn’t change my mind, but it persuaded me that rent control has nothing to do with housing at all, but is really an effort to gain political power, and control of private property with the false promise to people that somehow they will get to choose how much they’ll pay for rent. 

Rent control is really one instance of a price control, a legal limit on what a seller can charge a buyer. This intervention in the market is as old as civilization itself. 

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