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Rent Control

View the links below for information on rent control issues in Ontario.

Reports & Articles on Rent Control

August 2013
Why we'd end up paying more for rent control
By: Steve Davies, Institute of Economic Affairs
The U.K. Labour Party is toying with a return to Seventies-style rent controls. They will bring us Seventies-style urban decay, warns Steve Davies.

January 2013
Beware the Comeback of Rent Control
Peter A. Tatian (senior research associate, Urban Institute's Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center)
Given the current research, there seems to be little one can say in favor of rent control. What, then, should be done to help renters obtain affordable, decent housing? A better approach may be policies that encourage the production of more diverse types of housing, implementing regulations and practices to ensure housing quality; and providing targeted, direct subsidies to people who need help paying their rents.

December 2012
Rent Control Reduces Rental Supply
By: Steve Lafleur, Frontier Centre for Public Policy (From the Regina Leader Post)
Rent control fails to achieve the objective of ensuring abundant, high-quality, low-cost rental housing. Fortunately, there are plenty of other tools to help promote affordable housing. By following the examples of Houston and Atlanta, and eliminating the land-use regulations that drive up housing prices, Canadian cities can help make housing more affordable while avoiding the well-known, but unintended, negative consequences of rent control.

May 2012
Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from the End of Rent Control in Cambridge Massachusetts
By: David H. Autor, Christopher J. Palmer, Parag A. Pathak (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
This paper found that rent control’s removal in Cambridge produced large, positive, and robust spillovers onto the price of never-controlled housing from nearby decontrolled units. Elimination of rent control added about $1.8 billion to the value of the housing stock between 1994 and 2004, equal to nearly a quarter of total Cambridge residential price appreciation in this period.

October 2011
Price Controls and Consumer Surplus
By: Jeremy Bulow (Stanford University) & Paul Klemperer (Oxford University)
This renewed look at economic models shows rent controls lead to inefficient allocation of housing, rationing of apartments and reduced supply. Even absent any supply effect, inefficient allocation may cost tenants all the surplus gains they receive from a lower price and more.

January 2009
Rent Control: Do Economists Agree?
By: Blair Jenkins, Journal of the American Institute for Economic Research
A comprehensive review of the rent-control literature finds that economic research quite consistently and predominantly rejects rent control.

October 2007
30 Years of Rent Control in New Jersey: A New Approach Needed
A survey of New Jersey Cities by University of Louisville Professor John Gilderbloom and Lin Ye of Roosevelt University, provides one of the most well-documented studies yet of how tenants in cities with rent control are no better, or even worse off, than renters in municipalities without rent control.

June 2007
Gouging Tenants with Rent Control
By: Mark Milke
The imposition of rent control ignores the fact that unit owners still must pay
property tax increases, which will rise sharply in a market valuation system for
property tax and for repairs and maintenance, causing remaining rental units to decline in quality.

September 2003
The Misallocation of Housing Under Rent Control
By: Edward L. Glaeser and Erzo F.P. Luttmer
This study found that in New York City, which is rent controlled, an economically and statistically fraction of apartments appears to be misallocated across demographic subgroups, and that the welfares costs from misallocation may be greater than the undersupply costs.

April 2002
A Critique of the Legal and Philosophical Case for Rent Control
By: Walter Block Ph.D. (Economics)
The economic case against rent control is overwhelming. It is the cause of apartment shortages, housing deterioration, lessened investment, decreases in tenant and hence, labor mobility, and it artificially and inefficiently promotes condominiums, housing cooperatives and public housing, the later of which also brings about great difficulties of its own.

June 2000
A Rent Affair
By: Paul Krugman (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2008)
The analysis of rent control is among the best-understood issues in all of economics, and - among economists, anyway - one of the least controversial. In 1992 a poll of the American Economic Association found 93 percent of its members agreeing that "a ceiling on rents reduces the quality and quantity of housing."

August 1994
A Study of the Impact of Rent Control In Cambridge, Massachusetts
By: Rolf Goetze, Ph .D .
This study found two basic trends directly related to rent control: Rent control intensified a housing shortage; and, advantaged, gentrified households replaced many lower-income, elderly, minority and family households in rent-controlled apartments .

November 1988
An Economic Assessment of Rent Controls: The Ontario Experience
By: Lawrence B. Smith
This report examines the significant cost of rent control to the Ontario government and the province's economy.

General Policy Reports on Rent Control

November 2013
The Housing Shortage and Rent SettingSystem
By: Sweden National Board of Housing
Sweden's housing system, which allows low rents in wealthier locations, is a deterrent to developers building new rental apartments. According to this report, the rent control system prevents new rental apartments from being built, while at the same time existing housing is not being used efficiently. As a result, Sweden lacks 40,000 rental flats, with the housing shortage most pressing in big cities. DOCUMENT PUBLISHED IN SWEDISH.

May 2007
Thirty Years of Rent Control: A Survey of New Jersey Cities
By: John I. Gilderbloom (University of Louisville) and Lin Ye (Roosevelt University)
This study looks at 76 New Jersey rent-controlled cities and poses the following questions: Are rents significantly lower in rent-controlled cities when compared to the other 85 non-rent-controlled cities? What has been the impact on the size and quality of the rental unit? What has been the impact of new rental construction?

April 2006
Reviewing the Case for Rent Reform in Ontario
This presentation shows how housing affordability problems in Ontario worsened under stricter rent controls.

July 2004
Increased Costs Attributable to Returning to a Pre-1998 System of Rent Controls in Ontario
By: Clayton Research
This report reviews how returning to stricter rent controls has a significant impact on government costs and revenues.

May 2003
Vacancy Decontrol in Ontario
By: Lawrence B. Smith
Rent control creates a rental housing shortage by increasing demand for rental units with below equilibrium rent and reducing the supply of rental units, and exerts a significant impact on government revenues and expenses.

April 2003
Intertenancy Rent Decontrol in Ontario
By: Lawrence B. Smith
This paper examines the consequences of terminating intertenancy rent decontrol in Ontario.

March 2003
Who Really Benefits from New York City’s Rent Control System?
By: Henry O. Pollakowski (Editor, Journal of Housing Economics)
This report examines New York City’s rent stabilization system and estimates the effects of total or partial deregulation. It finds that rent stabilization provides little benefit to residents of the outer boroughs and the lower and middle-income neighborhoods of Manhattan, while providing a substantial subsidy only to the residents of the relatively affluent areas of Manhattan.

April 2002
A Critique Of The Legal And Philosophical Case For Rent Control
By: Walter Block Ph.D. (Economics)
The economic case against rent control is overwhelming. It is the cause of apartment shortages, housing deterioration, lessened investment, decreases in tenant and hence, labor mobility, and it artificially and inefficiently promotes condominiums, housing cooperatives and public housing the later of which also brings about great difficulties of its own.

January 1996
The High Cost of Rent Control
By: American Seniors Housing Association
A number of communities around the country continue to impose rent controls, usually with the stated goal of preserving affordable housing for low- and middle-income families. This study shows that rent control does not advance this important goal. To the contrary, in many communities rent control has actually reduced both the quality and quantity of available housing.

September 1991
Report to U.S. Congress on Rent Control
By: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Rent control is controversial. Advocates claim it protects the poor from having to pay too much of their income on housing and saves them from being displaced when rents are rising rapidly; critics argue that it results in deteriorated and abandoned housing, and benefits middle-income and well-to-do families more than the poor.

August 1991
Financial Loss and the Market Value of Rental Housing
By: R. Andrew Muller
This paper examines the impact of rent controls on property values.

April 1991
Rent Control and Vacancy Rates in Canada
By. R. Andrew Muller
This paper investigates the degree to which the low residential apartment vaancy rates observed in a number of Canadian cities are attributed to the presence of rent control.

September 1989
Rent Control and a Program for De-control in Ontario
By: Lawrence B. Smith, University of Toronto
This paper indicates that rent controls have jeopardized the viability of the private rental sector in Ontario, introducing major market distortions, impeding new supply, accelerating the deterioration and conversion of the existing rental stock, impacting adversely on a large component of low income tenant households, and exacerbating government budgetary deficits.

March 1989
The Experience with Rent Regulation in Canada
By: R. Andrew Muller
This paper reviews rent control policies across Canada, and describes how, since the 1970's, three provinces have dismantled their rent controls completely.

April 1987
The Thom Commission Report
By: The Commission of Inquiry into Residential Tenancies
A report investigating the harmful effects of rent control on tenants and the poor in Ontario.

March 1985
The Price Effects of Rent Controls
By: George Fallis and Lawrence B. Smith
This paper examines the price effect of rent controls by comparing rent-controlled and non-rent controlled housing in Toronto.

Rent Control and Building Quality

November 2005
Tenancy Rent Control and Credible Commitment in Maintenance
By: Richard Arnott and Elizaveta Shevyakhova (Dept. of Economics, Boston College)
This paper investigates the effects of tenancy rent control on housing quality, maintenance, and rehabilitation.

May 2003
Rent Control and Housing Investment
By: Henry O. Pollakowski (Editor, Journal of Housing Economics)
This report documents the actual effect of rent deregulation on housing investment in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

April 1988
Rent Controls and Rental Housing Quality
By: Joseph Gyourko & Peter Linneman (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)
This research reviews how the negative influence on the quality of apartment buildings from New York City's rent control law has taken some time to have a visible impact, though the long-term influence has been quite substantial.

Rent Control and Mobility Issues

November 2011
Housing and the Economy: Policies for Renovation
Easing the relatively strict rent controls and tenant-landlord regulations that are found in some Nordic and continental European countries could significantly increase residential mobility by improving the supply of rental housing and preventing the locking-in of tenants.

September 2005
The Effect of Rent Control on Commute Times
By: Robert Krol & Shirley Svorny (Department of Economics, California State University)
This extensive research paper concludes that communities with rent control are likely to bear additional costs in the form of lost time in commute, gasoline, automobile wear and tear, highway maintenance and are likely to experience pollution and congestion externalities to a greater degree than otherwise.

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