Rent control has had the opposite effect of its original intention, to provide affordable housing. Rent control should be abolished in cities where rent control exists, and politicians should be proactive and lift controls with an eye on the economics involved and a deaf ear to the activist hysteria.
Rent control results in higher prices for available housing by reducing the supply. Landlords are offered little incentive to build new units that will fall under price control. Tenants have no incentive to move from a low rent situation. Elderly parents whose children have moved away may continue to live in a 4 bedroom unit to maintain the current rental rate long after the space is needed. As the supply shrinks, would-be renters turn to the shadow rental market. This market, which may account for as much as 30 percent of the available housing market, exists outside the rent control laws due to special exemptions or the government's desire to maintain a relief valve for excess demand. However, due to the short supply and high demand, these units may be priced several times higher than the market value.
Housing quality also suffers under rent control. Landlords faced with limited rental income are reluctant to make improvements or even do minimum repairs.