Community Reach

Rent Control is Refusing Affordable Housing to Our Future Generations

Rent Control and What it Means

A government regulatory law that keeps a check on the rent costs, make up for rent control laws. In America, the states of California and Orlando, have state wide rent control, while only California has city specific laws as well. The natural trend of urbanization and the unnatural ways of accommodating the immigrants into the city sprawl, have created an imbalance in the provision of affordable housing to families. Rent control apparently seems like a good solution, but it is nothing more than a temporary fix, that will do more damage than betterment.

What Rent Control Means for the Generations to Come

A family is a unit of the society. Each family is more so a household than anything else, because families belong to houses. These houses are meant to be inhabited so that they can become homes to families who are bound by love, care, affection, and respect.

While rent control is being seen as a prospective goodwill law, it is fundamentally shattering and challenging the concept of families living in the safety and privacy of their houses, unbothered by the obligation of monthly rent dues hanging over their heads. The trend of rental places and rent control, only defeat the purpose of so many families working hard to be able to afford a house of their own one day, instead of paying rent every month.

Encouraging the idea of rent control, means marring the justified need for affordable housing and depriving the generations to come from the gift of having a house through their hard-earned money. Already, around half a million individuals or 552,830 people in America, are homeless, while 44% of all wage earners between 18 and 64 years, earn low hourly wages.

As it is clear from the statistics, the state of homelessness may seem small when compared to the US population of over 327.2 million, the considerably high percentage of low wage-earners creates a huge gap between affordable lifestyle and earnings. These low wage-earners are unable to make houses of their own either in their own lifetime or during their child’s.

After COVID-19, from March 2020 to March 2021, half of renter households and 40% of homeowners lost income. People paying rents ended up using their savings as a result of downsizing, leading to difficulties in affording the house rent.

Families feel helpless in their quest for a house, where they can live on their own terms and survive national and international emergencies such as the pandemic. Rent control only makes it harder for people to break away from the cycle of monthly rent, thereby making it difficult for the future generations to sustain livelihood through affordable housing.

Normalizing rent control today means increasing obstacles in achieving affordable housing for our children and their children. Hence, rent control is an alarming “reform” that must be addressed before it can hold strong roots in the country and erase the fundamental need for a house of one’s own.

How is Rent Control Refusing Affordable Housing to Our Future Generations

Article 17 of the UN’s Charter of Human Rights has two sections that reads:

1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Wanting better living conditions and being able to have a roof of your own without having to pay monthly rent in return are not utopic expectations. People have a right to be able to want better things for themselves and there need not be a socioeconomic or political reasoning behind it other than just a psychological or emotional reasoning. As opportunists try to usurp this right to own property, the public must learn of their international right for property and the State’s facilitation and steps towards increasing the chances of affordable living instead of introducing laws that take humankind steps away from justice. Rent control refuses affordable housing to you and your children and their children. Here’s why:

1. It undermines the issue of low wages

More than 53 million people or 44% of all workers aged 18 to 64 in America are low wage-earners. About 56% of these are aged between 25 to 50 years which constitutes 43% of those who are raising children. More than half of these are sole earners in the family, and hence they are unable to afford their own houses due to the continued issue of low wages. About one-third of these lives below 150% of the federal poverty line, and they have no secure a safe house for their children leading to poor lifestyles. The median rent payment has seen a sharp rise to 61%between 1960 to 2016, while the median renter income has grown to an embarrassing 5% only. Rent control undermines the complexity of this issue by keeping these families stuck in a carousel that only benefits the homeowners and not the rent-payers.

2. It ignores the insufficient numbers of rental houses

Statistics show that there is a decline in homeownership as only 35% of American households rent their houses, which makes up 44.2 million households. This clearly represents the miscalculation of the houses available for rent and the number of people who want to live in a house as a family. Even if rent control is sought as a progressive step, the problem is complicated when houses are unavailable to accommodate those who want to live on rent. Rental vacancy is only 5.8% which means that the growing generations will see a dearth of living spaces if the insufficient number of rental houses are not increased. Again, the focus should be on improving affordable housing, and not rental spaces.

3. It discourages community-building& family values

People are only able to afford a house when they reach a certain age, no matter how important it is for sustenance. 37.8% of people below 35 years are homeowners while 23.7% of people living below 25 years are homeowners. This means that individuals who are raising families in this age group are deprived of homeownership and it may take them decades even scores, before they can afford a house.

4. It is contrary to the American Dream

In July 2022, 55.3% of youth (between 16 to 24 years) constituted in labor force participation, arise from 54.4% in July 2021. Youth and working class in the USA are constantly exposed to the challenge of affording a house of its own. While growing up upholding the American Dream, these individuals suffer the most persistent of all national challenges–the ability to call a house and being self-sufficient in the property they own. Rent control does not cater to the American Dream; it deflects the integrity in working for an asset that one can build in their prime years. Our generations must grow up in an America where equity in opportunities is ensured so that a life beyond worrying about these basic needs can be lived.

5. It empowers house owners, not rent payers

The median household wealth among those who own their houses in the US is 3,695% higher than those who live on rent. Renters are disadvantaged as they are 89.9% more likely to be behind housing payments as compared to those who own houses. Rent control only benefits those who own houses or properties; it completely disregards the everyday battles of households that are barely getting by with the building pressure of rent payment dues. Rent control only makes it more profitable for homeowners as renters can “enjoy” temporary residence as long as they are paying rent. Generational renters can lose a roof any time, while homeowners are never at a disadvantage.

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