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Renting Reality

Nicole Gelinas eloquently exposes many of the flaws of New York City’s rent-control system [1]. Rent-control advocates – like all advocates of policies that prevent people from voluntarily exchanging goods and services at prices that they (rather than government officials) determine to be appropriate – forget that market prices reflect an underlying economic reality.

Market prices are messengers that deliver important information to buyers and sellers about the relative availabilities of different goods, services, and resources.

To believe that tenants and potential tenants are made better off by capping the ability of markets to charge rents above some artificially determined rates is akin to believing that patients with high blood pressure are cured of their hypertension by capping the ability of blood-pressure monitors to register readings higher than 100 over 60.

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