The ethics of rent control

Journal of Business Ethics 10 (3):189 - 200 (1991)
Abstract
Residential rent control is a contentious issue in many jurisdictions throughout the world. While tenant groups have often argued vociferously in defence of control, landlord groups and the vast majority of economists have been equally vehement in their criticisms. This paper examines some key normative issues involved in rent control. In particular I examine arguments in favor of control based on the alleged unfairness of winfall profits, upon affordability, and finally on the creation of rights to security of tenure. Various objections by libertarian and free market philosophers and economists are examined. I conclude with a somewhat limited defense of rent control as used in specific situations as part of a more comprehensive policy to satisfy the normative demands at the root of tenant pressure for rent control.
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