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Question of the day

Friday, Jun 22, 2018

* One of the comments I heard the most from working-class people in the San Francisco area during my vacation was how they couldn’t afford to live in the region without rent-controlled leases. Their comments were all unprompted, by the way. With that in mind

Rent control initiatives in Springfield were stranded when the 2018 regular legislative session ended on May 31, but landlords and property managers in Illinois anticipate a more aggressive push when the General Assembly convenes in January 2019.

“Housing Action Illinois and the other groups pushing for this will continue to work hard all summer and into the fall in preparation for next year,” Paul Arena, legislative director for the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association, told Prairie State Wire.

Three of the four bills left hanging would have repealed the Rent Control Preemption Act of 1997, which prohibits municipalities in Illinois from enacting rent control ordinances. A fourth bill would have established rent control boards on the county level.

State Rep. William Guzzardi (D-Chicago), introduced the repeal act in the House (HB 2430), arguing that rapid gentrification of some Chicago neighborhoods has made them unaffordable for many long-time residents. A majority of voters in some Chicago wards likewise favor repealing the ban, according to the results of a non-binding question that appeared on the March 20 primary ballot in those wards. And Democratic gubernatorial nominee J.B. Pritzker, who leads incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner in the polls, has said he supports repealing the ban.

* The Question: Should the state’s anti-rent control law be abolished? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


survey solutions

- Posted by Rich Miller        

23 Comments
  1. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 2:50 pm:

    I voted yes, but only because in my uninformed opinion, this would apply only in Chicago. Therefore, repeal the prohibition and if Chicago wants to vote for rent control, it should be handled like any other local issue.

    For the record, I am not in favor of rent control. I think the state acted to preempt Chicago and we can settle things like this without state “help,” thankyouverymuch.


  2. - Perrid - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 2:55 pm:

    Voted yes. Even though I’m generally a big government guy, I really don’t see why the state needs to but in here. Granted I’m biased because I generally view landlords as leaches profiting off of other people’s lack of means, but I think I would still think it’s a local issue even if I didn’t like the idea of rent control.


  3. - Mike - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    In the immortal words of Assar Lindbeck, “Next to bombing, rent control seems in many cases to be the most efficient technique so far known for destroying cities.”


  4. - Tony S - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 2:58 pm:

    Absolutely. It should be left to municipalities to determine the best route for their residents. I think if a city or village wants to put rent control rules in place to help provide parity for rising property values, they should be able to do so.


  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 2:59 pm:

    ===for destroying cities===

    Has San Francisco been destroyed since I was there? I must’ve missed that.


  6. - A Young Person - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:00 pm:

    I voted yes. Though instead of just a blanket repeal, the state should consider putting in some guideposts, like the size of rent increases allowed in a controlled unit, or criteria for which units get controlled and how they stay controlled.

    Another more difficult solution to this is for people to own the apartments they live in. That way, when prices go up, existing residents are the ones that actually benefit.


  7. - Bret - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:01 pm:

    I voted no.

    It’s an easy issue because it’s framed as a way to take from the rich and give to the poor. In reality, rent control is terrible from a public policy standpoint. Studies show that it reduces availability of units, provides a disincentive for improvements, and reduces needed property tax revenues.


  8. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:03 pm:

    http://www.walterblock.com/wp-content/uploads/publications/RentControlMythsRealities.pdf

    Check out the photos through the book. I get that this is dated and Walter Block is conservative, but Noah Smith’s not (see here)

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-01-18/yup-rent-control-does-more-harm-than-good


  9. - Ole General - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:07 pm:

    - Has San Francisco been destroyed since I was there? I must’ve missed that. -

    You’re over your skies here. I could send a wealth of evidence to you that shows that rent control and general NIMBY behavior has sent San Francisco home/rent prices to the highest in the nation.

    Environmental groups in particular prevent any major new developments in San Francisco and that is what is hurting working-class people.

    San Francisco’s median home price is inching towards $1 million, while Chicago sits at $220k or so. Chicago is extremely affordable and we do not need more market disruptors in the city.

    https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/real-estate/T010-S003-home-prices-in-100-top-u-s-metro-areas/index.php


  10. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:09 pm:

    ===Has San Francisco been destroyed===

    Rent control really turned Manhattan into a hell hole too.


  11. - Amalia - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:16 pm:

    I thought there was a surplus of apartments? This issue just seems to be a pandering one, not one based in real need. what is needed is housing for the homeless, a different thing. and apparently shelters are not desirable enough for them. yet the tiny house idea is laughed at by Rahm antagonists while yuppies are into building tiny houses.


  12. - Big Jer - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    My son works for a dot.com in Los Angeles. He’s does QA for the company in apps and software and make about $50k. He lives in a rent controlled apartment in West Hollywood. The rent is about $1400 a month. In doing a Zillow housing cost view of the area, his apartment is surrounded by houses, condos, and mansions that range from 2.5 million to $15 million especially in the canyon areas.

    Without rent control he says his rent would be close to $3000 a month or more and would need to move far out of LA. Given LA traffic he would have to commute about 2 hours each way to get to his job in LA.

    We tell young people the cities are where the jobs are, but make them unaffordable for them to live in.


  13. - 312 - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:24 pm:

    No. Everyone seems to think Landlords are made of money, when there’s a lot of small ones out there, barely making it. One ‘deadbeat’ tenant can throw these smaller landlords into foreclosure. And limiting the rents that the market sets will make them defer maintenance on their properties.


  14. - anon - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:27 pm:

    We should create a mega price-control agency and get rid of the free market system in IL. (snark, of course)


  15. - SW - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:28 pm:

    I’m with Bret. Rent control is a terrible idea.


  16. - Anonymous - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    I am a landlord. Rent control historically resulted in curtailing market forces to produce quality and quantity of units. A better way for affordability is to relax zoning laws to build higher density housing.


  17. - Stark - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    “I am a landlord opposed to rent control” Yeah bud, that’s the whole point of these laws if you’re a renter. I can only live in my city because our unit is rent controlled, that’s it. This issue really is about a few people wanting the ability to continue sucking the extra pennies from those who don’t really have them to give anymore.


  18. - Montrose - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    “Chicago is extremely affordable”

    That’s in the eye of the beholder. Compared to San Francisco, sure. To someone making around minimum wage, not so much.

    To the question - I am honestly not sure if rent control is the way to go. I do think it should be up to a municipality to decide if they want to do it. It can help folks in a certain income stay in neighborhoods with rising values, but it doesn’t do much for, as Amalia points out, people experiencing homelessness.


  19. - Yosarian - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 4:23 pm:

    I am opposed to rent control. Won’t rent control lead to rentals being converted to owner-occupied units? In terms of public policy, I would rather see subsidies for low income renters.


  20. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    typical lunacy from Cook County Democrats.

    Rising property taxes lead to landlords raising rents so high long time renters can’t afford to live here.

    Democrats solution is to squeeze landlords so they can’t afford to pay for the building and the property taxes


  21. - RNUG - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 4:30 pm:

    As a former landlord, I voted no. As a more or less Libertarian, I believe the market should set the prices.


  22. - Skirmisher - Friday, Jun 22, 18 @ 4:33 pm:

    I am opposed to rent controls, but I am far more opposed to a meddlesome State government sticking it’s nose into something that is obviously an issue for local government. So I voted yes.


  23. - Tracy - Tuesday, Jul 3, 18 @ 12:42 pm:

    I rented for years before my husband and I were able to buy a two flat. I need the rent money to help pay the mortgage. Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the country, but our rents are only 13th highest, behind San Francisco, Seattle, NY, LA, and more. The city is extremely affordable in comparison to other large cities. I’m all for keeping housing affordable, but I still have to pay the property taxes that just increased 30% this year. If I tried to raise my tenant’s rent 30% they would leave me! Of course I won’t do that. But at some point, something has to give. I can’t just tell the city I can’t afford the taxes, and I still have to provide for my family and my tenants.


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