Bring Back Rent Control?

Posted by Miriam Axel-Lute on October 2, 2009

Yesterday NY1 tried to set up New York City’s mayoral race as an affordable housing vs. education spat, based on the candidates’ negative soundbites about each other.

Although this is a bit of a stretch anyway (and not generally two issues that are actually opposed to each other), it’s interesting to see that the responses from listeners they’ve posted are overwhelmingly concerned about the cost of housing. (They even had to post a defense saying they weren’t screening out pro-Bloomberg comments, they just weren’t getting any.)

The rest of the country is still not Manhattan, but as Matt pointed out yesterday, a scarce supply of affordable rental housing in the middle of a deluge of foreclosures and swelling unemployment is something that isn’t unique to the Big Apple.

I just finished Our Lot by Alyssa Katz, and her description of how the weakening of rent control fed the speculative frenzy and reduced both rental supply and affordability made me wonder if we’re ready to get over the bogus economic arguments against it and put it back in the toolbox.

Photo courtesy of edenpictures.

About the author more »

Miriam Axel-Lute is editor of Shelterforce and associate director of the National Housing Institute. Her email is miriam at nhi dot org.

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