Responses to increasing rents

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Here’s how housing works in LA:

  1. Lots of people want to come here because it’s beautiful and there is economic opportunity
  2. The population increases
  3. Insanely restrictive zoning prevents developers from building enough housing to accommodate population growth
  4. Responding to pressure from tenants, the city controls rents on most units (via the RSO)
  5. New-comers and residents who want to move are therefore left to compete for the few apartments that are available each month
  6. Insane competition for those few units pushes rent for those units up

You could fix this problem in a few ways:

  1. Somehow prevent people from moving to LA… but that’s illegal!
  2. Remove rent control, which would cause rents to equalize (effectively, all units would be up for rent each month or every twelve months, spreading the impact of increasing demand across the entire rental stock, instead of concentrating it on the few units which are currently available)
  3. Build like crazy, which would increase the number of units available at any one time and thereby moderate prices

Since #1 is illegal, we are left with options #2 and #3. #2 would be deeply destructive to the social fabric of the city (because so many long-term residents would be instantly priced-out).

So #3 is the only option. Build baby, build.

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