Analyzing Rent Control
The Case of Los Angeles
This paper was originally presented at the conference on "Rent Control: The International Experience" at John Deutsch Institute of Economic Policy, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, September 1-4, 1987. It presents an analysis of Los Angeles' rent controls and provides a quantitative forecast of the housing market effects of an actual rent control ordinance. The authors indicate that two of their findings should apply to other communities with rent control: First, the bulk of the transfers from landlords to tenants achieved by a rent control law are realized early in the law's life, but the bulk of the economic cost of the law — the housing stock lost through inefficient workings of the market mechanism under rent control — is incurred later in the law's life. Second, legal provisions that ameliorate rent control's deleterious effect on landlords' incentives to maintain their dwellings reduce the benefits of rent control to tenants.