The Landlord's Case for Stronger Rent Control

January 2, 2018, 8am PST by Elana Eden
A small San Francisco landlord argues for repealing state restrictions on rent control.

Buck Bagot, a senior citizen and longtime resident of Bernal Heights, lives in the same building as the unit he's rented out since the '90s. This week, he took to the San Francisco Chronicle to support a California ballot initiative that would repeal Costa-Hawkins, the 1995 state law restricting local rent regulations.

If cities could enact stronger rent controls, Bagot writes, they could protect tenants from rent gouging by corporate landlords, who make up a growing portion of housing operators in the state. They could also eliminate the incentive to evict tenants created by vacancy de-control—a key mandate of Costa-Hawkins that permits landlords of rent-controlled units to raise rents to market rates when tenants moves out. 

Bagot addresses common concerns about rental protections, including that they hurt landlords' profits and discourage new development: 

"All rent control laws allow landlords a reasonable rate of return, with annual increases. Additionally, to make sure that new development is not deterred, all rent control laws I’ve ever heard of exclude newly constructed housing units."

He stresses, "Rent control allows landlords like me to make a fair return on our investment and keep up with rising taxes and maintenance costs." If Costa-Hawkins were repealed and stronger local laws enacted, he writes, these landlords would "do just fine."

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Published on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 in San Francisco Chronicle