Readers React: Rent control is a price control — and we know price controls do not work
To the editor: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s call for increased rent control is inspired, I’m sure, by the dual motivations of his political ambitions and a sincere desire to help solve the housing shortage. But rent control is the wrong solution.
To address hunger, instead of controlling the price of food, we promote the successful Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Were retailers’ prices controlled, less food would be available.
The Section 8 subsidy program is an effective way to house the needy without impacting the marketplace. The waiting list for Section 8 vouchers is extremely long, and landlords shy away from the program due to a misguided perception that the tenant is more likely to be problematic. As a Section 8 landlord for over 30 years, I can verify that this is not the case.
Rent control discourages new development and unfairly punishes a particular segment of the economy. It makes a nice sound bite, but nothing more.
Glenn Egelko, Ventura
To the editor: If Garcetti is serious about combating homelessness in Los Angeles, then he must find the political courage to stand up to the developers and self-serving business leaders who are going to fight any effort to strengthen or expand rent control laws.
Rents in L.A. are literally unaffordable for most wage earners, and it’s outrageous that properties built after 1978 are exempt from rent stabilization.
Opponents argue that stronger rent control will deter developers from building new units, but virtually all the apartments being built today are expensive, high-end units that only wealthy tenants can afford. The notion that the increased inventory for the rich will somehow lead to lower rents for the working class is just another form of trickle-down economics, and it is just as false.
Stephen Bulka, Los Angeles
To the editor: Obviously we have a problem with high rents. Older units are subject to rent control, which is beneficial to tenants.
Garcetti may extend these controls to structures built after 1995. That would be great for me, as I would love to downsize from home ownership and its responsibilities. I question, however, how officials can arbitrarily focus on a group of investors, in this case landlords, to take on the role of a government entity subsidizing the multitudes of renters.
Justify that, Mayor Garcetti, and perhaps we can also mandate price controls on grocers, clothiers, dry cleaners, barbers and all necessary services.
Diane McDowell, Los Angeles
Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook
Get Group Therapy
Life is stressful. Our weekly mental wellness newsletter can help.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.