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Rent control and its implications: The road from “the rent is too damn high” to rent control, and implications for investment
Unprecedented rent increases across the nation have resulted in amplified calls for limiting rent increases. Rent control can result in diminished net operating income (NOI) because rents increase at a lower rate than expenses, which would result in lower value. Rent control also can erode the value of rent itself as caps may be set at a lower growth rate than inflation. Another way rent limitations may adversely impact overall returns is that the pool of investors pursuing rent-controlled apartments is more limited, and those that participate may require higher cap rates. This paper begins by noting the unparalleled rent increases in most U.S. markets, then explores the history of rent control in the United States, the current geography of implementation, as well as recent initiatives to expand its reach.
“The rent is too damn high!” is a rhetorical flourish popularized by Jimmy McMillan, the founder of “The Rent is Too Damn High Party,” a New York–based political