November 24, 2015

Rising prices spurs rent control movement

Skyrocketing rental prices and the surge in a new class of more educated, middle-class renters are fueling a revival of the rent control movement across the country.
Aljazeera America - About 110 million Americans or more than a third of the U.S. population live in rental units. And the biggest increase from 2013 to 2014 was among households earning $50,000 or more a year — the combined result of the foreclosure crisis and changing demographics.

Millennials whose numbers now exceed baby boomers are delaying two major incentives for home ownership: marriage and kids.

As a result, the supply of apartments has shrunk since the Great Recession while the demand soared, creating a surge in rental prices. More than half of all renters in 19 states and Washington, D.C., spend more than a third of their income — the traditional measure of affordability — on rent.

This affordability crisis has given momentum to the rent control movement for the first time since its heyday in the 1970s, a time of urban renewal and gentrification. Rent control efforts are underway in Seattle and in Richmond and Alameda in California. A national group, Right To The City Alliance, has launched a national Homes for All, Inc., campaign to unite renters.

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