Rent Control: Academic Research & Articles from Canada, the US & Abroad
Below is a compilation of numerous academic research studies about rental housing and rent controls from across Canada, the US and abroad, including media articles citing notable authorities.
“The hard truth remains that the apartment market is complex and answers, such as rent control, only worsen underlying issues, in this case a dearth of new rental construction.” BMO Nesbitt Rent Control Report 2019
- Ontario rent control resulted in sky-rocketing rents and a dearth of supply. See this article as well. Ontario has since removed rent control from new construction.
- A Dec. 2009 University of Toronto research report, entitled Rental Paths from Postwar to Present Canada Compared, studied Canada’s rental supply from post-war to present day, finding Canada’s postwar rental production was far higher per capita than the United States or Australia, and similar to that of Northwestern Europe. Apartments were integral in the development industry and in the postwar landscape.
- Dr. Nathanael Lauster, UBC Sociology Professor, is quoted on rent controls on p.29 of The Tyee’s Finding Home: Affordable Housing Solutions for Greater Vancouver and B.C. “One of the problems is when you tinker with rentals to make them more secure for tenants, it makes developers less likely to want to build rentals. The more the province limits what they can do with rental suites, the less likely market actors are going to really want to build them.” Lauster said building more supply of multi-unit housing is key to making the city more accessible for families in The Star Metro.
- Joshua Gottlieb, associate professor at the Vancouver School of Economics, UBC, has tweeted that “rent control does absolutely nothing for people who don’t already have a secure rental, or who suffer long commutes, or need to move for other reasons.” He’s also tweeted, “The only effective way to protect renters is create competition among landlords. That means allowing rental housing construction.” He predicts that the Province’s new limitation of allowable rent increases to the cost of inflation “will do the opposite: discourage construction, which reduces competition. Renters will suffer – via low quality instead of prices” in Georgia Straight.
- A historical look back at the Canadian federal government incentives that spurred rental housing in the 1940s-1970s. The Tyee: Should Old Rental Buildings Be Saved?
- A retrospective on rent controls and rental supply in Canada by Dr. Tony Crook, Professor of Town and Regional Planning, Head of Department at the University of Sheffield: The Supply of Private Rented Housing in Canada 1998.
- SFU Professor of Real Estate Finance, Andrey Pavlov: Vancouver rent control is not the advertised win for renters
- The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants, Landlords, and Inequality: Evidence from San Francisco–American Economic Review Vol. 109. no.9 September 2019
- How We Know California’s New Rent Control Law Will Make Its Housing Shortage Worse Rent controls propose using government regulation to solve the symptom—high prices—of a problem—a shortage of housing—which government regulation created in the first place. (Sept. 16, 2019) Foundation for Economic Education.
- Research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) called Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from the end of Rent Control showed after rent control eliminated in 1994, vacancy rates rose by six percentage points and new construction increased by approximately 20 percent after 1994.
- The effects of rent control in San Francisco found apartment providers reduced rental supply by 15%, which increased rents city-wide by 5.1%. NBER San Francisco Rent Control Study
- University of California study on rent control impacts, confirming significant reduction in new rental housing and conversion to market or strata purchase (Sept 2018).
- In his 1971 book called The Political Economy of the New Left: An Outsider’s View (p.39), the Swedish, socialist economist Assar Lindbeck, called rent control the “most effective way to destroy a city short of bombing.”
- Poor availability and neglected buildings are the results of 50 years of rent controls in New York City.
- Note: only 4 US states have any form of rent controls remaining. Thirty-seven US states ban rent controls entirely. In the recent US mid-term elections, California Proposition 10 on extending rent controls failed overwhelmingly by a 60% “No” vote. BC’s immediate neighbours (Washington State & Alberta) currently have NO rent controls and a much healthier rental housing market with lots of new supply – both have way higher vacancy rates that act as a natural, free market rent stabilizer.
- Nobel-prize left-leaning economist Paul Krugman’s NY Times OpEd June 2000 says: “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.” Almost every freshman-level textbook contains a case study on rent control, using its known adverse side effects to illustrate the principles of supply and demand.”
- Metropolitan Housing and Communities Center Research: Is Rent Control Good Policy?
- Only 2% of economists on an expert panel agreed rent control in New York and San Francisco had a positive impact on the quality and availability of affordable rental units.
- Sweden’s new Coalition Govt of Social Democrats & Greens Policy Statement on Jan.21, 2019 promises to END RENT CONTROLS that have created a chronic shortage of rental housing devastating Swedish renters for decades (see attached from page 4 of the Policy Statement).