Housing after World War 1

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Did you know that without rent control many low, and mid-class families would be homeless? We need these rent control laws in order to keep rent prices in control so that it is not too high or too low. Rent control is a price control regulated by the government for housing. According to Policy Genuis “Many historians believe Julius Caesar enacted a law stating a landlord could not charge more than the ancient Roman equivalent of $100 per year for a home in Rome. This came after a Roman senator appealed to the courts claiming his landlord tried to double his rent and he could no longer pay it.” Rent Control started in 1920 In New York and Washington D.C. Today there is rent control in Maryland, California, Washington D.C and New York. There was a severe shortage of housing after World War 1. The rate of the cities vacancy was dropping below one percent. This resulted in rent strikes because of the high rent prices. In big, busy and at times, overpopulated cities such as New York City, affordable rent can be extremely hard to find for a plethora of reasons. So much so that in many places, rent ceilings have been implemented in order to combat ultimately unaffordable rent in crowded cities.

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Construction of new buildings was a standstill because of the war. They had other priorities such as lack of materials, manpower, and cost. Also, during this time population was growing. To solve this problem, the New York Legislature passes a rent control program that would help to lower the cost, and limit the power that landlords have. A landlord is someone who runs a building and rents it to tenants. You for example would be a tenant, paying a monthly fee to live in that building. This limit decreases things such as eviction. Below I will explain the importance of rent control, break down the perks of these laws; and how it positively and negatively affects the economic system.

According to “New York City Rent Guidelines Board” areas that are rent controlled have about 28,000 units. A large majority of the people who live in rent controlled areas are the elderly and low-class population. The pricing of these apartments are usually less than 2,600 a month. Many low or middle-income New York City residents can barely afford to live where they work. According to the Huffington Post, “There are 2.5 million New Yorkers, of which 1.6 million are of low or middle income, in grave danger of losing their ability to afford to house in New York.”

This shows that rent is too high if a majority of middle and low-income residents cannot afford it. Also, there is not a lot of low rent apartments, which means that only the quick and the lucky can get low rent apartments. There is a high demand for low rent apartments but not enough to supply. Demand and supply is a concept used in economics as a backbone of the market economy. Stated by Investopedia, “Demand is an economic principle referring to a consumer’s desire, and willingness to pay a price for a specific good or service. Holding all other factors constant, an increase in the price of a good or service will decrease demand, and vice versa.” Supply is the amount of goods provided. According to investopedia, “Supply is a fundamental economic concept that describes the total amount of a specific good or service that is available to consumers. Supply can relate to the amount available at a specific price or the amount available across a range of prices if displayed on a graph.

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Housing After World War 1. (2022, Apr 18). Retrieved February 4, 2023 , from

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