The concept of rent control has existed to some degree since around World War I. It grew to include several states (and a number of counties and cities within these states) following World War II. The concept of rent control is that it places caps on the maximum amount of money a landlord can charge a tenant. In many areas where rent control laws exist, they are targeted at specific types of renters. The most common group that is protected by rent control laws are the elderly. In some areas, first time renters are also protected by these laws. Very few provide universal protection in the form of a cap on the rental fee.
What does Rent Control Provide
The most common type of rent control, which exists in large parts of the world, applies strictly to the amount a monthly bill can be raised if the tenant resigns the lease. Many areas allow for 3% over the previous year’s lease. In many situations, this provides little to no protection because most rental prices go up between 1.5% and 3% a year. In some areas, rent control can go as far as setting a maximum price, which a property can be rented for when dealing with specific people.
Protection for Repair Situations
Rent control in most areas also provides protection for repairs. Typically a person who is living under a landlord who is not performing needed repairs (in a rent controlled area) can report this to a local committee, and receive the legal right to perform the repair themselves and withhold the appropriate amount of rent. In some extreme cases, these committees may even take over the rent for a period of time, and cover the expense of the repairs.
Most areas with rent control laws also include laws which limit eviction regulations. In most of these areas, the landlord must show legitimate proof, which explains why they are evicting the tenant before they can issue a 30 or 60 day notice. This is aimed primarily at preventing landlords from evicting tenants who wish to re-sign their lease. This prohibits them from raising the rental fees they are charging by more than the limits set forth by the rental laws.
Re-Signing Lease Protection
Rent control can protect renters who are looking to resign their lease in a market where rental prices have increased dramatically. This is not common, but there are situations which can lead to sharp increases in rental fees over the course of a year.
Rental Cap Protection
Some rent control places a cap on the amount of money which can be charged for a property. This can go a long way towards helping people who are on a fixed income. It is especially helpful to retired individuals, because the cost of living continues to go up (but their pension or social security does not).