Rent-control measures legally mandate price ceilings for private sector housing units. The laws either limit the price that property owners may charge renters or the amount that property owners may increase the price from year to year. The laws usually create an administrative bureaucracy that will implement and enforce pricing. In the United States, New York City and San Francisco have the greatest number of rent-controlled units, but the total number has been in steady decline since the mid-20th century. The United Kingdom eliminated private sector rent control in 1988. Rent regulations are much more common in other Commonwealth countries, such as Canada, and in the European Union.

Rent control is usually advanced as a progressive policy designed to protect renters in low-income brackets from high ...

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