Why Rent Control is so Desperately Needed


Protestors for stronger rent control at the ULI’s Terwilliger Center for Housing. Photo Courtesy of National Housing Conference.

Tola Aluko, General, Opinions


Considering COVID-19’s economic impact, calls for rent control are becoming harder to ignore. 


Earlier this year, the pandemic led to eviction moratoriums all the way up to the federal level. These moratoriums served as a safety net for families that had no income due to quarantine. While these moratoriums were taking place, many rental assistance programs were created to help the households that were most affected by the pandemic. This all reached a breaking point as ​​the national median rent soared to $1,302 in September, up 15% from only a year ago, and home prices skyrocketed by 24%. These insane prices are unaffordable for the average American.


Rent control is defined as “a government program that places a limit on the amount that a landlord can demand for leasing a home or renewing a lease.” A similar concept is price control, specifically price gouging. To put it simply, price gouging is when sellers take advantage of high demand and raise prices for necessities, usually after natural disasters when people are scrambling for necessities. In many states, if prices on necessities are 10-15% higher it’s deemed price gouging, and the seller may face a civil penalty.


Housing is a necessity. Not just to an individual, but to the economy. Thus, housing instability has a major impact on Americans. An address is needed for a driver’s license, insurance card, college enrollment, and often a job. Without an address, several legal documents are unachievable.


America has been labelled as a land of opportunity. People come here to accomplish the ‘American Dream,’ but that starts with housing. No one should be excluded from that opportunity, because they were unable to find a reasonable landlord, or because there was a global pandemic that decimated the economy.