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Written By Rebecca Diamond, Associate Professor of Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Steadily rising housing rents in many of the US’s large, productive cities have reignited the discussion whether to expand or enact rent control provisions. Under pressure to fight rising rents, state lawmakers in Illinois, Oregon, and California are considering repealing laws that limit cities’ abilities to pass or expand rent control. While rules and regulations of rent control vary from place to place, most rent control consists of caps on price increases within the duration of a tenancy, and sometimes beyond the duration of a tenancy, as well as restrictions on eviction.

New research examining how rent control affects tenants and housing markets offers insight into how rent control affects markets. While rent control appears to help current tenants in the short run, in the long run it decreases affordability, fuels gentrification, and creates negative spillovers on the surrounding neighborhood.

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