Building More Apartments Won’t Reduce the Rent, Says Rent Control Group

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Housing and rent cost too much in big cities. That means we need to get rid of antiquated zoning statutes and build, build, build. But wait:

The Federal Reserve recently determined that increases in supply won’t automatically reduce rents. New York City’s former planning director said the “more housing” theory didn’t work in practice there. Zillow data show that adding market-rate units only benefits the rich: Though rents have declined slightly for luxury rentals, rents for working people continue to rise.

This is not coming from some neoliberal shill or NIMBY die-hard. It’s coming from the progressives at the LA Tenants Union. What’s up with that?

It’s simple: the LATU wants to convince us that more construction isn’t enough. We also need rent control, which means that everyone should vote yes on Proposition 10, an initiative on the November ballot that would repeal a California law limiting rent control.

That’s good to know, I guess. But when more construction and more rent control also fail to bring down prices, I wonder what we’ll need next?

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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