Ulster Strong supports affordable housing in Ulster County, but rent control isn’t the solution. Look no further than NYC where I lived for over 30 years. It had rent control for many decades, yet remains unaffordable and one of the world’s most expensive places to live.
In fact, rent control discourages new investment in housing, both in building new properties and maintaining existing ones. Recently, the City of St. Paul, MN introduced rent control. The result? Virtually all new housing developments moved across the river to Minneapolis, which has no rent control. This is happening also in the City of Kingston, where many investors and developers have moved elsewhere for their projects. This limits new housing construction and leaves small local landlords to bear the brunt of rent control. As a result, existing properties are not getting the investment they need, leading to deterioration of Kingston’s existing housing stock.
Rent control often doesn’t help those most in need because there is no income verification requirement to stay in affordable apartments. Everyone has heard NYC stories where rent-controlled apartments are passed from generation to generation and how wealthy people keep their rent-controlled apartments as a pied-à-terre, while they buy second homes outside the city. A better solution would be to expand eligibility of Section 8 rent vouchers for those truly in need.
Also, keep in mind that landlords have seen their costs increase with inflation and supply chain challenges, like everyone else. And during COVID, landlords were hit hard by tenants who did not or could not pay rent.
For housing, we need a comprehensive solution that includes new home building, expansion of rental assistance, reform of ADUs & AirBnB laws and more. Rent control is not the solution and sadly will backfire in Kingston.
Don Tallerman, Executive Board