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Oregon Gone Mad on Rent Control

rent control b&wOregon is poised to become the first state to enact rent control state wide. Frustrated with increasing rents, officials believe something must be done.

Never mind that rent control is a bad idea that even lefty economists like Paul Krugman condemn. The problem is, rent control results in diminished supply of new rental units and accelerated deterioration of existing rental housing stock because landlords can’t afford to maintain their properties and why should they? The resulting imbalance of diminished supply to ever increasing demand means that tenants are clamoring to live in poorly maintained junk.

Ironically, exploring the causes of high rent points us right back to government. Government regulation of housing and building codes makes it more difficult and more expensive to supply the market, resulting in higher cost of construction and fewer apartments being built. Higher rents result.

One of the leading proponents of rent control in Oregon is Margot Black of Portland Tenants United. She has this to say about landlords: “Homegrown Oregonians tend to be white and racist…I think the faster they can get out of the landlord business, the better.”

Before anyone reacts to the idea that passing judgment on an entire group of people is itself racist, I want to assure you that as a white landlord, we are all in fact the same! You can generalize about all of us based upon the experience you had with any one of us, particularly if that experience was a bad one.

Rent control will be a disaster for Oregon tenants, but I’m sure Margot Black will get her wish as plenty of Oregon landlords of all stripes abandon the market.

Also see “Insanity in Seattle – An Update”