Revised Testimony against Rent Control/"Stabilization"


Hello Everyone,

    This version of our testimony on rent control and rent stabilization is improved. And I include the email addresses of the Housing Committee members at the bottom. You can copy and paste the email addresses into the “TO” line of your email. A pdf version is also attached. We are open to suggestions. Thanks for your help.

Small Landlord Letter   No. 27   November 12, 2023

  By Skip Schloming, Ph.D. & Lenore Monello Schloming, M.A., 50 years as small landlords, 23 years as leaders of the Small  

  Property Owners Association (1996-2021).  617-354-2358

Rent Control Harms EVERYONE

Only landlords pay for rent control? Hell, no! Everyone pays.   

Single-family owners, condo owners, ALL multifamily owners PAY


Devaluation pushes property taxes UP   When a large sector of a city is devalued by rent control, it pushes property tax bills UP for all non-controlled owners. Everyone gets a higher tax rate to keep city funded.

Non-controlled owners get devalued, too  

Condo owners risk having their condos turned into permanent rentals under rent control. Sound impossible? The Cambridge City Council, during rent-control days, enacted an ordinance that required all future sales of condos to be tenant-occupied only and rent-controlled! Yes, it’s true!

Two- and three-family owner-occupants are usually exempt from rent control. BUT, they cannot move out and keep their property as a family investment because, being non-owner-occupied, it is immediately rent-controlled. This limitation on usual ownership rights devalues their properties.

Single-family owners could become part of a new subindustry of single-family rentals. BUT single-family owners, too, cannot move out and keep their single-family as a rental because, non-owner-occupied, it risks being rent-controlled. So, devalued by rent control, but the property tax rate goes up.

If a city adopts rent control, it immediately devalues all the above properties, plus the rent-controlled ones.

Other forms of devaluation

Deteriorating rent-controlled properties causes devaluation of nearby non-controlled properties. Controlled rents cause steady deterioration of properties. An MIT study* found that 85% of all the devaluation caused by rent control in Cambridge happened in non-controlled properties. Only 15% of devaluation occurred in properties under rent control.

Crime is higher under rent control, from another MIT study,** and another factor devaluing properties.

Even tenants are harmed

Gentrification happens. The poor, minorities, and families get steadily kicked out. Landlords choose middle-class tenants who will reliably pay their low rents. And they do NOT choose families, to reduce wear and tear. When rent control ended in 1995, the Legislature gave one or two more years of rent control for moderate- or low-income, elderly, or disabled tenants. Only 6% of all rent-controlled tenants qualified for it in the three cities with rent control, Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline.

Harm to cities without rent control   Since rent control devalues a lot of properties in a city, state aid to cities and towns gets shifted from non-controlled cities to rent-controlled cities.

Rent stabilization instead? 

Hell, no! It’s mild rent control. All the above will happen, just to a lesser extent. It gets the camel’s nose in the tent – a rent board, control over evictions, the right to set rents – ready to become full rent control.

It won’t stay mild. Rent control is all about political power, nothing more. Politicians get elected by supporting rent stabilization. Once stabilization gets adopted, they get re-elected by making it into full rent control. They push rents lower and put more properties under rent control, to expand the tenant voter base and motivate them to vote with lower rents.

Puts NON-taxpayers in charge.   When tenants can elect politicians, then non-taxpayers are in control and don’t give a damn what it costs to the city’s taxpayers, to all the property owners.

* “Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from the End of Rent Control in Cambridge, Massachusetts,”

** “Ending Rent Control Reduced Crime in Cambridge,”

This statement may be copied freely and circulated.


Housing Committee members:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

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