NAA Insights: How Rent Control Leads to Increased Housing Inadequacy

Leah Cuffy speaks with Laura Calugar, revealing details from the association’s latest study.

Leah Cuffy, Director of Advocacy Research with NAA, on rent control and housing inadequacy
NAA’s study found that interior deficiencies had the strongest correlation to the presence of rent control, according to Cuffy. Image courtesy of NAA  

With less housing supply delivered over the past couple of years, rents have increased in most parts of the country. And rent control proposals were among the first responses to this swift surge in rental rates. But though intended to protect renters, studies show that they actually devastate rental housing and harm affordability because they distort the market.

Moreover, a study recently released by the National Apartment Association found that rent control leads to a reduction in housing quality. Led by Dr. Andrew Hanson from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the research examined the empirical link between the quality of housing and rent control penetration. One of the main conclusions of the analysis is that the increase in the number of rental homes that are subject to rent control in a particular community is strongly correlated to increasing reports of housing inadequacy, interior deficiencies and neighborhood problems.

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Over time, several other studies have shown that rent control policies lead to a lack in housing supply and actually exacerbate affordability challenges because they stifle development and contribute to the deterioration of properties. 

“Policy should really consider the whole experience of renters, not just the affordability aspect,” NAA Director of Advocacy Research Leah Cuffy told Multi-Housing News Senior Editor Laura Calugar in this episode of our NAA Insights quarterly podcast series.

Here are the main aspects they touch on during this discussion:

  • Methods and measures used in the study (1:06)
  • Why is rent control on the public agenda now? (2:59)
  • Effects of rent control on the building owner and supply side (7:50)
  • The “spatial spillover” effect (12:06)
  • Why rent-controlled buildings receive less investment and exhibit excess deterioration (13:59)
  • The relationship between rent control exposure and housing inadequacy (14:54)
  • How rental apartment interiors are impacted by rent control policies (16:50)
  • The link between external housing deficiencies and rent-controlled units (18:09)
  • The correlation between rent control and neighborhood problems (19:26)
  • Solutions (21:07)

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