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Rent Control: Academic Research & Articles from Canada, the US & Abroad

December 6, 2018


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




  • 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.


Aging low-rise apartment in Marpole area of Vancouver.
















  • “New York City landlords slashed spending on apartment renovations over the past five months, a sign that building owners are becoming less inclined to pay for renovations after a new law limited their ability to raise rents. Landlords started 535 fewer renovation projects from July through November in rent-regulated buildings over the same period in 2018, a decline of 44%, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of city Department of Buildings records. Spending on the renovations fell by $71 million.”  Dec. 19 Wall Street Journal


  • 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.”






Rent Control


  • 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).



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