The misconception is that rent control is a vehicle that allows the working class and poor renters to continue to live in cities that are undergoing gentrification. Gentrification desegregates the local residents and with that diversity, provides an environment where its city residents will thrive when influenced by the influx of a more affluent population.
The reality of Rent Control is that poor renters are generally older, long term renters, who are less likely to have young children living at home and are less likely to benefit most from integration. This is a clear conflict with the desegregation goals of our more progressive Mayor and City Council. Thus, if we think that integration is desirable because it helps the children of the working class and the poor, then it seems likely that the incumbency advantage of rent control is a weak tool to achieve that objective.
The apartments that are likely to be impacted by rent control in Newburgh are the relatively attractive apartments that are likely to attract more affluent inhabitants. Rent control ensures that these apartments remain in the hands of poorer residents. If the city is getting poorer, then rent control may tend to exacerbate poverty and stop affluent people from renting the more desirable rental units.
History has shown that in New York City’s rent stabilized apartments appear to be disproportionately white which suggests that in a market with shortages of affordable apartments may not be allocated to the neediest applicants. Rent controlled apartments create an incentive for incumbents to remain in their current apartments instead of moving. Rent Control also is strongly biased towards older persons, and biased against young families with children who are just moving into the city.
If the city’s governance goal is to maintain and limit the mobility of its residents within the city’s mixed ethnic neighborhoods then Rent Control will assure the achievement of that goal.
Will Rent Control truly help or hinder the residents of the City of Newburgh?