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Statewide Rent-Control Laws Cannot Escape the Law of Supply and Demand

Published: March 7, 2019
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Reprinted with permission from TheNewAmerican.com.

Last week, Oregon became the first state in the nation to adopt a mandatory statewide rent control policy. Yet, rent control never delivers on the promise that it will multiply the affordable housing in high-value markets to serve middle- and lower-class families. It also always has negative consequences, and this time will be no different.

The new statewide law applies to landlords who have at least four units, one of which is at least 15 years old. It prohibits them from increasing rent more than 7 percent over inflation annually. The bill also prohibits no-cause evictions after the first year of residency, in addition to the protections against eviction already on the books.

The change comes after the median rent in the state increased by 14 percent over three years during the population boom. The largest hike took place in Portland, Oregon, where, according to the New York Times, rents have grown by 30 percent since 2011.

The Beaver State’s new law is quite a stunning move, as 37 other states actually prohibit cities from implementing rent control. There’s a reason for that: It doesn't work. Rent control didn’t provide more affordable housing when it was implemented in various regions back during the ’70s, and it hasn’t worked since. It didn’t work when they tried it in Paris, and it isn’t working now in New York City, Washington, Los Angeles or San Francisco where rent controls are currently in place. It won’t work in Portland, either.

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