The Great Manhattan Rip-off

The great Manhattan rip-off

Rent controls, New York's particular bane, are poised to receive yet another unwelcome extension 

It was one of many price controls brought in during the grim, panicky period between the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 and America's move to a full wartime economy in 1943. The housing market was seen as another thing that needed to be rationed or, at least, regulated—alongside rubber, petrol, coffee and shoes. By 1947 all these controls were phased out, except property-price regulations. Most cities have since scrapped these market distortions; the capital of capitalism has not.

Only one-third of New York City's 2m rental apartments are free of some kind of price restraint. A city board sets annual increases and administers an ever more complicated system. In some buildings, people live in similar apartments but pay wildly different levels of rent. In others, lone grandmothers sit in huge apartments, aware that moving would mean paying more for a smaller place elsewhere.

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Rent Control or Bomb?

Rent Control or Bomb?

We couldn't resist showing you these images comparing the damage done to buildings by wartime shelling and peacetime neglect under rent-regulation regimes.

See if you can spot the difference!

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Rent Regulation -- Beyond the Rhetoric

Rent Regulation -- Beyond the Rhetoric

In New York City more than one million housing units, representing more than half the private rental market and one‐third the total housing stock, are subject to rent regulation. This scale of regulation is unique among American cities and is highly controversial.

Proponents claim rent regulation protects affected tenants from otherwise likely excessive rent increases in New York’s tight housing market and helps make housing affordable for low‐ and middle‐income households who otherwise could not live in their own home in New York City. Critics claim the regulations give substantial benefits to upper‐income households who could afford unregulated rents, cause rents to be higher among unregulated units than would otherwise be the case, encourage some families to stay in apartments longer than they otherwise would, curb construction of new housing, discourage landlords from properly maintaining regulated units, and lower property values of buildings with regulated units, thereby depriving the City of New York of property tax revenue.

Current rent regulations trace their origins to federal price controls imposed on the city’s rental housing market in 1943 during World War II. The federal rules applied to housing built before February 1947. In 1951 New York State opted to assume the controls on the pre‐1947 housing stock on grounds that the local housing market continued to experience a low vacancy rate. In 1969 rent regulation in a modified form (rent stabilization) was applied to housing built after 1946. The rules that applied to both older and newer housing have been altered several times since, with periods of full or partial vacancy decontrol and other modifications. Nevertheless, the justification for all rent regulation remains the tight local housing market. The legal basis for current rent regulations is the continuation of a vacancy rate of 5 percent or below as an indication of a housing “emergency.”

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Rent Control a '100-year failure'

Rent control a '100-year failure'

By Steve Lafleur, The Leader-Post October 22, 2011 

The New Democrats defeated the scourge of rent control in Saskatchewan during the 1990s. Unfortunately, the same party is now promising to implement "second-gen

While not as disastrous as the former rent-control regime, the newly proposed plan would merely replace one type of rent volatility with another. Second-generation rent control is a failure.

Rent control has been one of the biggest public policy failures of the last hundred years. Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck wrote the famous line that "next to bombing, rent control seems in many cases to be the most efficient technique so far known for destroying cities."

Preventing landlords from charging market-rate rents leads them to skimp on repairs and maintenance. It also removes the incentive for construction of new units. It leads to an under-supply of rental units, which can only be corrected in the long run by rationing or with higher prices.

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Sample Taxpayer Article 1

This is some sample content for testing.

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