In their advice to voters, the staff considers it self-evident that support for rent control automatically should be a necessary requirement for election to the Cambridge City Council. Rent control is assumed to be a natural part of a social justice program that includes low-income housing and concern for the homeless in the form of Cambridge funding for shelters.
But consider the facts: rent control has consistently failed to improve the living conditions of the poor because it deprives landlords of any incentive to rehabilitate their buildings, and in fact encourages them to leave their buildings vacant to gain tax write-offs. Price limits fixed by rent control prevent Cambridge's many small landowners from making a profit, which leads them to conclude that money invested in their buildings is wasted capital. The resulting shortage of available housing contributes to the problem of homelessness. Those interested in actually helping the poor and homeless should, therefore, vote against all proponents of rent control.