The Monterey city government is walking its citizens into a horrible mess. When I attended the May 30 meeting in which we discussed its proposed compulsory rent registry, I talked briefly to Mayor Tyller Williamson. I told him that economists are almost unanimous in their view that rent controls cause shortages of housing, cause landlords to cut down on maintenance, and discourage new construction.
He replied that he doesn’t advocate rent control but, instead, favors what he called “rent stabilization.”
It’s a distinction without a difference. Rent stabilization is simply a form of rent control because it’s a government limit on rents.
The compulsory rent registry that the Monterey city council is about to vote for will be the first step to rent control. I don’t know if the mayor will regret it but a lot of people in Monterey will.
David R. Henderson
Here’s the 7 hour meeting at which the rental registry was discussed and voted for.
One of the city council members, Alan Haffa, with whom I had carried on a civil email discussion early in the week, voted for the registry after admitting a lot of the problems. Notice what he says at about the 5:22:43 point:
Those of you who are professionals know what the prices are, you know what rents are, but your clients, your tenants may not. So you have the information but they don’t.
I wrote him this morning and asked him how the tenants manage to fill out their monthly rent check without knowing the rents. He has not got back to me.
The pic above shows the effects of long-term rent control in the South Bronx. It began as a temporary measure during World War II.