Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Should cities limit rent?


City leaders agree the state should not make a blanket policy, if for no other reason than the principle.

“I prefer the Legislatur­e to stay out of local government­s’ business,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, who would prefer the state Legislatur­e to tackle issues such as “reducing insurance costs, reducing utility costs, rather than addressing problems that aren’t really happening in most places.”

Said Broward County Commission­er Nan Rich: “I do believe the counties should be able to approve ordinances that approve rent control.” Not preempting local control “was always a mantra for the Republican­s and now it isn’t. Municipal and county government know what the need is best in their communitie­s.”

Not everyone agrees rent control is the right way to help people.

At a Joint Legislativ­e Delegation Workshop this week State Sen. Jason Pizzo said he was “staunchly against rent control,” saying you’d never tell a burger shop how much to charge for a cheeseburg­er.

“That’s socialism and I’m completely against it,” he said.

The National Multifamil­y Housing Council agrees with him. The organizati­on said only two states allow rent control: California and Oregon, as well as Washington, D.C. Other cities allow it such as St. Paul, Minn., and notably, New York City.

An organizati­on spokesman said rent control tends to “causes the problem it attempts to solve,” said Jim Lapides. An artificial cap on rent is a financial disincenti­ve to both landlords and developers, who tend to not get invested, which then means “the actual supply of housing falls and raises rent for everyone else.”

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