Housing Crisis Leads to Renewed Support For Rent Control

As rents in the Bay Area have skyrocketed, cities are updating and introducing rent control ordinances. They are stoking age-old debates over the macroeconomic value of rent control.

Read Time: 1 minute

June 1, 2016, 7:00 AM PDT

By Josh Stephens @jrstephens310

Rental Apartments

MaxyM / Shutterstock

"No fewer than eight Bay Area cities — from urban giants like Oakland and San Jose to small suburbs like Lafayette and Pacifica — have considered brand-new or significantly strengthened rent control policies in the past year. Debates over whether to adopt these policies and what form they should take have divided city councils, pit tenants against landlords, and raised perennial questions about the long-term value of an intervention that is considered extreme by many property rights advocates and counterproductive according to many economists."

By one estimate, the Bay Area added over 440,000 private sector jobs between 2010 and 2014 but fewer than 54,000 housing units. Meanwhile, evictions seem to be on the rise. In July, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the number of monthly evictions in the City of San Francisco, which has rent control, had risen 32 percent over the previous three years' average."

Many ordinances and proposals also restrict evictions to only those that are for “just cause,” so that landlords cannot evict long-term tenants simply to raise the rent on new tenants. In some cases, rent control is governed by an elected rent control board. Cities have struggled, often with nearly violent disputes, to find the right mix of protections for tenants without raising the ire of property owners."

Sunday, May 22, 2016 in California Planning & Development Report

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

A tent covered in blue and black tarps sits on a downtown Los Angeles sidewalk with the white ziggurat-topped L.A. City Hall looming in the background

L.A. County Towns Clash Over Homelessness Policies

Local governments often come to different conclusions about how to address homelessness within their respective borders, but varying approaches only exacerbate the problem.

February 3 - Shelterforce Magazine

Rendering of mixed-use development with parks and stormwater retention on former Houston landfill site

A Mixed-Use Vision for Houston Landfill Site

A local nonprofit is urging the city to consider adding mixed-use development to the site, which city officials plan to turn into a stormwater detention facility.

February 3 - Urban Edge

Aerial view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin at sunset

Milwaukee County Makes Substantial Progress on Homelessness

In 2022, the county’s point-in-time count of unhoused people reflected just 18 individuals, the lowest in the country.

February 3 - Urban Milwaukee