Building More Apartments Won’t Reduce the Rent, Says Rent Control Group

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Housing and rent cost too much in big cities. That means we need to get rid of antiquated zoning statutes and build, build, build. But wait:

The Federal Reserve recently determined that increases in supply won’t automatically reduce rents. New York City’s former planning director said the “more housing” theory didn’t work in practice there. Zillow data show that adding market-rate units only benefits the rich: Though rents have declined slightly for luxury rentals, rents for working people continue to rise.

This is not coming from some neoliberal shill or NIMBY die-hard. It’s coming from the progressives at the LA Tenants Union. What’s up with that?

It’s simple: the LATU wants to convince us that more construction isn’t enough. We also need rent control, which means that everyone should vote yes on Proposition 10, an initiative on the November ballot that would repeal a California law limiting rent control.

That’s good to know, I guess. But when more construction and more rent control also fail to bring down prices, I wonder what we’ll need next?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest