Readers React: Rent control amounts to stealing from apartment owners on behalf of tenants

A "For Rent" sign is posted outside an apartment building in Sacramento on Jan. 8.
(Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

To the editor: Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal’s op-ed article on Proposition 10 is exactly why rent control policy should be left at the state level and not subject to local politics.

The idea that it is ethical to take my income and give it to the residents of my building regardless of whether they need a subsidy is ridiculous. Of course rent control is popular. Getting something for nothing is always popular, but that does not mean that it is right.

As an apartment owner, I can attest to the fact that rent control does not fairly accommodate the challenges of operating a building, particularly as a building ages and requires more maintenance. Nor does it accommodate the expense of local politics such as the seismic reinforcement mandate, forced franchise trash monopolies, property tax assessments and city fees.


Most importantly, it does not solve the problem of high rents. It does not provide any additional housing. It does not facilitate construction of housing. And it creates an adversarial relationship between tenants and property owners.

John Janavs, Studio City


To the editor: Last year, I lived in a one-bedroom apartment in a bad area of Long Beach. The unit was in an older building where the fuses blew constantly, the sinks routinely plugged up because of old plumbing, and the walls were paper thin.

My rent was $950 a month — until I received notice that I would have to start paying $1,550 or leave in 60 days. I asked if the higher rent meant badly needed maintenance and upgrades would be done. I was told no.

My story is not uncommon. There has to be some kind of rent control statewide so tenants like me do not face sudden 50% rent increases that we cannot pay.

David Thornton, Bellflower



To the editor: The first step in helping renters is to understand the problem.

Full-time minimum wage workers in Los Angeles earn $10.50 per hour ($1,820 per month gross, and about $1,500 net). Renting a $1,000, one-bedroom apartment (practically nonexistent in L.A. County) leaves only $500 per month for groceries, fuel, auto insurance and utilities.

Rent control is not going to provide housing starting under $1,000 per month, so our minimum-wage earner will not even be able to afford a rent-controlled unit.

The answer lies in building subsidized housing for those in need, while people who can afford the luxury of Southern California continue to spend and pay the taxes needed to house our desperately needed minimum-wage and low-income workers.

Beverly Butters, Long Beach

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