January 22, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            

Contact: Mashael Majid (mashael@urbanhabitat.org

New Urban Habitat Report Shows Rent Control Works! 

Rent control movements are gaining momentum in California. Whether through the ballot or by lobbying local city councils, tenants are building a powerful tenant-based movement. Urban Habitat is excited to release its new report Strengthening Communities through Rent Control and Just-Cause Evictions. The report finds that rent control and just-cause eviction policies protect marginalized communities, such as the elderly, low-income residents, people of color, and people with disabilities, providing them with stable housing in the midst of a devastating housing crisis. 
“Our campaign for rent control and just cause for eviction in Fremont has often been derailed by landlords, city staff, and city officials making sweeping arguments that rent control and just cause do not work and are damaging to communities. We represent the interests of the most vulnerable residents in our community, and we’ve known that these policies would improve their lives. This report is supported by years of work on the ground with real tenants and residents.” Roberta Ryan, RISE Coalition 
Urban Habitat studied rent boards and policy outcomes in Berkeley, Santa Monica, and Richmond to assess the effects of rent stabilization programs. The new report examines common arguments against these complementary policies, and highlights the resources involved in building accountable rent boards. Key findings of the report include:
  • Rent control provides landlords a fair return on profits.
  • Rent control has little to no effect on the construction of new housing.
  • Rent control programs are cost-neutral to cities.
  • Rent control protects local social and economic diversity, while laws such as the Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins skew the overall rental market in favor of more affluent renters. 
“All renters, regardless of income, are deserving of steady and predictable rents.” Tracy Condon, Executive Director of Santa Monica Rent Control Board
Rent control and just-cause eviction programs are one prong of a multi-strategy approach to protect vulnerable renters, preserve existing housing, and produce affordable housing. Together these strategies help stabilize neighborhoods, create just economies, and increase democratic participation. 
“Few research and policy organizations study what the actual effects are in California cities with rent control. They rely on decades-old studies of New York City rent control and fail to evaluate the policy for its purpose: to keep tenants in their homes. This report backs up what tenant advocates have known for decades: rent control works. It has few “unintended consequences” and the disaster economists theorize about doesn’t happen in the real world,” says Aimee Inglis, Associate Director at Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights.
Urban Habitat’s report will be available in print and online on January 22, and will be released in conjunction with the launch of Tenants Together’s updated rent control toolkit, Communities Thrive With Rent Control, an invaluable resource for tenants as they organize to stay in their homes and neighborhoods.  
Urban Habitat is a regional policy advocacy organization working to advance equitable policies to create a just and connected Bay Area for low-income communities and communities of color.