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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Rent control is exactly the wrong response to a housing shortage

Supporters of rent control march at the Capitol in Sacramento on April 23, 2018.
Supporters of rent control march at the Capitol in Sacramento on April 23, 2018.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: I guess one hand in Sacramento doesn’t know what the other is up to.

On the one hand, we have Gov. Gavin Newsom ordering governments in Southern California to plan for building 1.3 million more housing units, effectively insisting that we transition to greater density.

On the other hand, Newsom is pushing a statewide rent control measure. What universe do these people occupy? No one in his right mind is going to develop apartments in a rent-controlled area.

I think that if I were a local mayor, I would push for zoning for multifamily rental units in every NIMBY area, gaining kudos from the governor for showing bravery, but safe in the knowledge that no one would develop in my backyard.

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George A. Vandeman, Playa del Rey

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To the editor: As a landlord, I applaud Newsom and support Assembly Bill 1482, the rent control measure. The current affordable housing crisis leaves no socially responsible reason for owners to jack up rents just because the market allows it.

Realize, however, that exempting properties that are less than 15 years old, as the current bill does, is a double-edged sword.

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On one hand, it encourages the building of new units to alleviate the crisis. But it also motivates landlords to tear down 100-year-old architectural gems and build cheap cookie-cutter apartment blocks on those lots so they can be exempt from rent control.

AB 1482 should be amended to exempt these older structures too. It’s time to incentivize owners to upgrade and preserve historic apartments and rented homes. The current bill encourages them to bulldoze California’s history into the ground.

Richard Rothschild, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Rent control is a major cause of today’s homelessness crisis. How many thousands of units were taken off the market since rent controls were put in place?

Rental housing is an investment that is in competition with a multitude of other investment opportunities. Government can pass all the laws that it wants, but it can not rescind the laws of economics.

Rental property in Southern California has not penciled out for years. Mom and Pop have been driven from the market. Now you have Wall Street making the investment, and it will not invest in affordable rent-controlled property.

AB 1482 would cap rents on single-family homes owned by corporations or real estate investment trusts. It’s likely that many of these homes have appreciated in value, so if the owners cannot get sufficient rent, they sell the homes. The result: fewer rental units.

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Charlie Morgan, San Clemente


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