India Weighs in on New York City’s Challenge to Rent Control Law


Opinion letter on theNew Delhirent control law, from Shobha Aggarwal of the

Public Interest Litigation Watch Group in New Dehli, India. Aggarwal believes that “One would endeavour to ensure that property owners of the world should unite because they have nothing to lose except their pittance-paying tenants.

Prof. Richard Epstein Responds to Critics


Rent-Control Laws Hamper New York’s Housing Market

LETTERS | January 13, 2012
Richard Rafal’s letter (Jan. 10) replying to my “Rent Control Hits the Supreme Court”(op-ed, Jan. 4) shows a slender grasp of economic principle when he defends New York’s stringent rent-control laws by observing, “New York, the most rent-regulated city in the country, has always had some of the most expensive real estate in the world.” So it does, for two reasons.
The rent-control laws perpetuate the low level of utilization of key properties. Also, New York’s punitive Uniform Land Use Review Procedure places enormous local hurdles in the path of new development, to further constrict the supply. The high real-estate values to which Mr. Rafal refers are confined to those lucky enough to survive the process. Huge swaths of land remain undeveloped, perpetuating these monopoly rents.
Richard A. Epstein
Palo Alto, Calif.
Richard Rafal dismisses the movement to abolish rent control by stating that such abolition would only benefit the owners. Of course it would, in the same way that restoration of stolen goods benefits the victim of a robbery. The beneficiary of rent control is legally taking advantage of an immoral law.