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Americans are rent-burdened and facing eviction. Is rent control the answer?

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 12: A "for rent" sign in front of a home on July 12, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 12: A "for rent" sign in front of a home on July 12, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The pandemic made monthly rent payments soar, rising 15 percent between 2020 and 2022. According to risk management firm Moody’s Analytics, the typical American is now rent-burdened, meaning rent is more than 30 percent of their income.

Evictions are also on the rise since the pandemic, with some cities seeing filings increases by as much as 50 percent, according to Princeton University’s Eviction Lab

This has led some cities and states to consider rent regulations. This month, three Los Angeles municipalities enacted rent control. Massachusetts could be considering rent control on the ballot next year. And last month, Maryland’sMontgomery County voted to adopt rent stabilization.

This month, a group of economists sent a letter to the Biden Administration in support of national rent regulation. It’s a sign of a possible shift in what historically has been one of the most agreed-upon topics among economists – probably ever. 

Is rent control a good idea in a country with a growing number of renters? And what rent regulations actually work? 

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Michelle Harven
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