Rent Control

Published: 2023-09-20 00:00:00

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Not many states have rent control laws anymore. In fact, a total of seven states (California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, and Oregon) have localities in which rent control still exists in some form.

What is rent control? In short, price setting for rent. There are three types of rent control, strict price ceilings (aka rent freeze), vacancy control, and vacancy decontrol. Strict price ceilings are exactly what they sound like, no increases in rent are allowed at all. Typically, this is tied to a law that cannot be revoked unless updated (which is not as easy as it sounds) or challenged in federal court.

Vacancy control is when the rental price can rise, but it is regulated between tenancies (new tenants pay almost the same rent). Vacancy decontrol is rent control in which price increases are limited during tenancy, but it allows rent to rise to market rate between tenancies - in other words, if you were living in your apartment before the pandemic and were paying $500 a month, you would still be paying $500 if you chose not to leave. However, if you did choose to leave, the next person would be paying $900 or more for the place you once rented at a lower rate.

Why is rent control something we are bringing up now? Well, about a month ago, two landlords were lobbying to have the Supreme Court overthrow the city of New York's rent stabilization law. If overthrown, rent around New York City would likely increase significantly and more than likely push out many of those who are living in the city. This is interesting, considering how expensive it already is to live in the city of New York compared to other parts of the country.

We will be following this closely, because a change to New York City's rent control laws could mean changes for the remaining states that have rent control laws in place as well.

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