How rent control shapes lives

Today’s NY Times has an interesting piece about the effects certain types of affordable housing has on the lives of the people lucky enough to benefit from it.

Of course, the main benefit is that the tenant is able to live in a neighborhood which would ordinarily be totally out of reach.

But there is something else going on as well, a kind of limiting of life options. When the most important thing you have in the world is a cheap place to live, you are wedded to that one place as if your feet were nailed down. You can’t move to chase a job, a better climate, a creative project, or a love interest.

Yes, you have somewhere to live. But that place constrains your choices, which ultimately warps your life.

You’d be amazed at how many tenants I see moving out of places they’ve lived for a long time who end up doing something radically different with their lives, like moving out of state, or buying a house, or renting a totally different kind of apartment (usually larger!).