Rent control policies are key to stabilizing California’s housing affordability crisis, which has driven millions of people into poverty and displaced hundreds of thousands of others, a new analysis released Wednesday by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley shows.
The research brief, titled “Opening the Door for Rent Control: Toward a Comprehensive Approach to Protecting California’s Renters,” finds that rent control, when applied with other housing policies, can prevent housing costs from spiraling out of control and forcing families to leave their neighborhoods.
California is at a tipping point; both the government and private market are failing to meet the needs of a vast majority of the state’s 17.5 million renters. Skyrocketing rents, intensifying threats of eviction, and ongoing displacement are all part of a broader crisis of widening inequality and structural exclusion that is testing our values and identity as a state. The consequences are far-reaching: people are being pushed out of their communities, into homelessness, and away from jobs and opportunity. As a state, we face health, environmental, economic, and societal costs that can last generations. The extent of these long-term harms will be determined in large part by how we respond today. This moment requires that local governments have the ability to enact immediate solutions to protect tenants from unfair rent increases as well as wholesale evictions.