Rent Control

This is content I had originally published in 2016 when running for NYS Senate:

Rent control is not much of a problem in the Binghamton and surrounding region, but is common downstate and even in some other parts of upstate.

Rent control fights against basic microeconomic theory.  In normal supply/demand theory, as demand increases the prices go up, often temporarily, but then the higher cost incentivizes the creation of more supply.

Factor in rent control, and scarcity is created and sustained.  Demand is not relaxed because prices are forced down from free-market levels.  Supply growth is restricted due to lack of incentive to build more housing.  Why would investors want to invest in rent controlled housing, when other options exist which are more profitable?  Landlords will fight government to open up more zoning rules for non-residential development, while residential lots might sit idle with no interest to build.

Read this article which summarizes this problem very well.


Last paragraph:


The surest way to encourage private investment is to signal investors that housing will be safe from rent control. And the most effective way to do that is to eliminate the possibility of rent control with an amendment to the state constitution that forbids it. Paradoxically, one of the best ways to help tenants is to protect the economic freedom of landlords.”


I would work to develop such an amendment to our state constitution.


August 2019:  Unfortunately the NYS Legislature recently pushed through a variety of rent control measures, and the price control measure is an OPT IN, so we encourage municipalities throughout the state to drive a stake in the ground to declare their intentions to not apply price control measures.  Several of us Libertarians in Tioga county had this published in the Tioga County Courier-

Municipalities in Tioga County should opt out of new rent price fixing options offered by the state

In the final blitz before the end of the legislative session in Albany, a broad range of tenant protection bills were passed and signed by the governor. One of the most concerning policy changes was to expand rent price control regulations across the state, allowing municipalities to opt in. The state managed Rent Guidelines Board could take over pricing, and this policy would apply for pre-1974 built properties {note: I subsequently found out from the law that in fact each municipality would be charged with creating its own rent guidelines board}.

Vacancy rates are a key trigger parameter, and thankfully most upstate New York municipalities have rates above 5% and are ineligible to jump into this program AT THIS TIME. However, this new law will have a “self-fulfilling prophecy” effect. Landlords and developers are going to pull back on maintenance and repairs for older properties due to the threat of this price control regulation. Rental property will become more scarce, vacancy rates will drop, prices will go up, then government can step in to “save the day” to solve a problem which it created.

We urge all municipalities in Tioga County act NOW, this summer, to draft ordinances declaring the respective municipality will reject any optional price control regulations offered by the state or federal government. A pre-emptive strike will help settle the nerves for owners of older properties, so said properties are kept in well maintained condition. Perhaps Tioga County can dodge a bullet and avoid seeing the problems we see in New York City – scarce housing, older housing with rent control/rent stabilization in poor condition, high market rate rents hurting those not fortunate enough to live in the rent controlled housing.

Rich Purtell – Libertarian Candidate for Owego Town Council

Keith Price – Libertarian Candidate for Owego Town Council

Melvin Foster – Chair of Tioga County Libertarian County Organization

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