The proposal to set an annual rent control cap of 2% above the rate of inflation for apartment rentals in the city of Santa Barbara is a bad one that would result in less housing.
Particularly at a time when construction of new rental housing is being considered in the city, the proposed rent control ordinance could reduce the city’s long-term housing stock by hundreds, or even thousands, of units.
As Councilmember Eric Friedman emphasized in his comments, this proposal could lead local property owners to sell their properties to out-of-area investors or to convert them into vacation rentals or time-shares. The experience with rent control is negative in almost every municipality that has implemented it.
Let’s hope that new Mayor Randy Rowse will sway the 4-3 city council vote in favor of the pending ordinance in the opposite direction when he takes office.
Rent control would be the wrong direction for Santa Barbara.