Duncan Kennedy, In Defense of Rent Control and Rent Caps (Feb. 26, 2023).
Abstract: On January 20, 2020, I testified before the Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing in favor of two bills then being considered that would have revived rent control in the Commonwealth. My testimony was a head-on attack on the industry arguments against the bills. Their arguments are of course rationalizations of their economic interest. But they make serious wrong and misleading claims about consequences of rent control for the public interest and for its intended beneficiaries. Elected legislators, alas, are responsive both to the massive money spent lobbying against rent control and to some extent in good faith to the industry arguments. My goal, as laid out in the edited testimony published on the LPE Project Blog was to supplement not to displace the narration of blatant injustice and the invocation of a human right to decent housing with arguments in the policy language of the policy makers. The post also includes brief preliminary and concluding comments on the law and political economy approach as I understand it and as it relates to the testimony.