Stop Spreading Prop(98)aganda

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Dean Preston
SF Weekly

Matt Smith argues against rent control by repeating landlord propaganda, writing that "studies also show that rent control discourages construction of new rental apartments." Then, to bolster his case, he notes that housing construction fell after the passage of rent control and during the 1990s. (He conveniently omits other time periods that saw a housing construction boom.)

The argument that rent control in California discourages the construction of new housing has no merit whatsoever. Rent control does not apply to new construction, and therefore could not possibly discourage the construction of new housing.

State law (Civil Code 1954.50 et seq.) prohibits rent control on any property built after Feb. 1, 1995. Likewise, even the strongest local rent control laws in California provide that new construction is exempt from rent control.

Mr. Smith is entitled to his misguided opinions about rent control, but he should refrain from spreading landlord propaganda that has no basis in fact. Rent control does not discourage the construction of new housing, period.

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