4 Rent Control Myths You Don’t Know About

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4 Rent Control Myths You Don’t Know About

Staff Writer · Mar 9, 2010

Rent control has its advocates as well as its opponents. Therefore, it’s good to be armed with the proper information before you readily believe some of the myths that have been spread about the subject that you don’t know about.

Myth #1 – Crime Increases When Rent Control Is Enforced

Some people are under the misguided notion that if rents are controlled and there is no opportunity to raise rental prices, then crime will increase in the neighborhoods where rent control is enforced. However, this isn’t the case as most neighborhoods in rent controlled areas have notably less crime than other areas where these regulations aren’t in place.

Rent control balances out neighborhoods so crime isn’t as prevalent. In addition, landlords of rent-controlled apartments are under no obligation to continue to lease to problem tenants. These people can still be evicted too. If crime supposedly increases when rent control is practiced, then there wouldn’t be a relative lack of crime in such rent-controlled areas as Beverly Hills, Palm Springs or San Francisco.

Myth #2 – Neighborhoods Often Decline in Rent-Controlled Areas

Another fallacy that can circulate about rent control is that it causes the decline or deterioration of buildings where it’s implemented. However, without rental control regulations, cities, many times, must hire building inspectors to make sure that apartments or leased properties are properly maintained. Research has shown that landlords collecting higher rents can lack the motivation required to make the necessary repairs. Otherwise, if this wasn’t true, there simply wouldn’t be a need to hire building inspectors to make sure buildings meet the proper codes and standards.

Myth #3 – Landlords Do not Reap the Profits from Rent-Controlled Buildings as They Do from other Rentals

Many opponents of rent control are under the impression that owners of rent-controlled buildings are unable to make any kind of profit and therefore must often abandon their properties because they can’t pay the necessary expenses or taxes. However, the law suggests that landlords of rental controlled properties obtain a reasonable profit after costs for their real estate.

As an example, in California, landlords are given a timeline of 25 years to sell their properties or divest of their holdings if they find they can’t afford rent-controlled real estate. Yet, landlords in the state, who own these kinds of properties, have not followed suit. Therefore, they must be retaining some type of value from their properties for them to continue to choose to own and manage them.

Myth #4 – The Cost of Living Is Unmanageable in Rent Controlled Areas

In areas with rent-controlled apartments, tenants learn to be more budget-conscious in response to rising prices and tend to stay. As the median income can’t keep pace with increasing rents, it’s more helpful to live in a property where the rental rate is consistent. Rent control allows renters to save the money to buy a house rather than put any hard-earned savings into rental increases. In addition, tenants living in rent-controlled apartments can more easily patronize area stores as they have the extra money to spend that would have normally gone to housing.

Whatever your reason for liking or disliking rent control, make sure it’s valid. Verify any information first before you jump to conclusions.

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