Rent control hikes housing costs in Berkeley
Housing costs have increased partially as the result of the regulations Ms. Stefanie Bernay (Perspective, July 8-9) enforces. Her Draconian system prevents leases with expiration dates.
Landlords must protect themselves from the possibility of tenants who “homestead” units for decades locking rents at levels severely below market value and operating costs. Students are hurt most by this. If landlords could negotiate enforceable term leases (say one to four years) they could provide housing at lower rates knowing a rent increase could be had at leases end. Instead the rent board has supplanted the right and privilege of citizens to negotiate contracts with an Orwellian bureaucracy.
Last year the rent board allowed a $6 monthly increase on controlled units. This absurd and punitive number further motivates landlords to push rents up when possible. We could have a reasonable system that allows a 3 or 4 percent annual increases commensurate with operating costs.
Rent control has reduced the number of rental units in Berkeley. It adds to the housing shortage. We will not solve housing problems by punishing those who provide housing.
Rent control privileges a small group while injuring the rest. The group it “helps” is random, not based on income or ability to pay. It is unfair, intrusive and reactionary.
The rent board spends $2.5 million a year demonizing property owners and polarizing the community. Instead that money should be used to build housing and assist those who really need it. Ms. Bernay is part of the problem.