Dear Lawmakers: Rent controls still don’t work

by Peter Vickery, Esq.

May 9, 2019:- A recent op-ed in the Queens Daily Eagle praises a bill pending in New York that would cap rent increases at 1.5 times the rate of inflation. For example, if the annual rate of inflation is 3%, the rent could go up by no more than 4.5%. The law would prohibit a landlord from raising the monthly rent from $1,500.00 to $1,570.00; the statutory cap would be $1,567.00.

The op-ed’s author (a lawyer with a tax-exempt organization) declares: “We should put people before profits, and treat housing as a human right, not a commodity.”

That is a common refrain, and rent control is an old idea, one that has not improved with age.  Walter Block says that economists are “virtually unanimous” that rent control is destructive. Assar Lindbeck once said, “In many cases rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city—except for bombing.” Lindbeck is an economist and a socialist.

As legislative affairs counsel for the statewide organization MassLandlords, I am familiar with the efforts to bring back rent control here in Massachusetts. As an attorney, I work hard in and out of court for landlords, the people who provide quality, affordable housing to families that need it.

For informative resources on rent control — including a scholarly article that reviews the economic literature on the subject — click here.

To find out more about how the law firm Bobrowski & Vickery, LLC, counsels and represents rental-property owners, give us a call (413) 992 2915 or email

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