The Closer

Politicians seek relief for renters, but landlords have rights too

State and local governments have closed businesses across the country in response to COVID-19, putting millions of Americans out of work. Right now, those Americans’ biggest concerns are keeping a roof over their heads...

Nation in lockdown

I live in California, whose governor, Gavin Newsom, in March issued Executive Order N-33-20. The order requires Californians to shelter at home unless they are involved in any of 16 different infrastructure sectors—or seeking...

Rent control is illegal

New York City recently implemented its far-reaching Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. That law enacted extensive amendments, all plaintiff protective, to New York’s 1969 Rent Stabilization Law (RSL). The Act imposes...

Making Disparate Impact deliver fairness

HUD’s proposed revisions to our disparate-impact rule enhance our commitment to fairness for everyone. Everyone agrees that discrimination has no place in society. But everyone also agrees that a city should be able to require...

More rent control in California will make the housing problem worse

Rent control is a terrible idea that just won’t die. The latest example is a new bill working its way through the California legislature that would cap annual rent increases at 5 percent for...

New York City’s rent control laws erase property rights and worsen housing supply

Owning property means more than having your name on a deed. Lawyers and judges often refer to property ownership as a “bundle of rights,” because with ownership comes more than just the mere right...

The one issue every economist can agree is bad: Rent control

But there are a few questions where there’s near unanimity, and rent control is one of them. Pretty much every economist agrees that rent controls are bad. And in the last decades of the...

Incivility and its discontents

Recently, in a rare moment, the Pennsylvania state party chairs, Democrat Nancy Patton Mills and Republican Val DiGigiorgio, agreed to participate in a student-organized forum on civil discourse and polarization on the campus of...

Challenging Disparate Impact

“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without...

The new housing problem facing low-income renters

There’s a new problem facing low-income individuals seeking affordable housing: Even if they have a housing choice voucher to subsidize rents in the private market, landlords do not want to accept voucher tenants. A...

Sec. Ben Carson’s approach to affordable housing might work

The new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, aims to succeed where the Obama administration failed. Carson’s department intends to revise one of the landmark housing policies implemented by the Obama administration,...

The death of the small apartment building

Developers in the U.S. built 358,000 units of new multifamily housing in 2017. That’s less than half the number of single-family homes built last year, but the gap between the two has narrowed a...

New lawsuit in Seattle: Housing ordinance is unfair and unconstitutional

Seattle’s Fair Chance Housing Ordinance, passed by city council in 2017, forbids landlords from considering applicants’ criminal histories when selecting tenants. In other words, landlords cannot base a rental decision on concerns over their...

Criminals vs. property owners

But adjudication processes by regulatory agencies are different, and sometimes result in property owners being treated worse than criminals. In criminal law, due process works to ensure that innocent people are not convicted of crimes....

Rent control raises housing costs

A new paper analyzes the effects of rent control expansion in the city and finds that it reduced rental housing supply, causing a city wide-rent increase. People are understandably worried about the cost of living,...
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