Economists’ traditional hostility to rent contols is based on models that treat the housing market as perfectly competitive and on the experience with ‘hard’ controls in New York City and many European countries following World War II. The current ‘soft’ rent control systems in North America are varied and qualitatively different from earlier hard controls. The theoretical case against them is weak, particularly when the housing market is viewed as imperfectly competitive. The empirical case against them is weak, too. Economists should reconsider their blanket opposition to current rent control systems and evaluate them on a case-by-case basis.