Rent controls are dangerous policy
Open any newspaper or tune into the evening news -- there is often a headline confirming the global pandemic has created an urgency in Illinois to ensure stability in the housing market. However, evidence from economists and markets across the country show rent control fails to solve the affordable housing shortages.
The Chicagoland Associated General Contractors serves as the unified voice and the leading trade association serving the Chicagoland construction industry. We build private and public projects worth more than $12 billion annually while employing over 10,000 individuals. Our organization is acutely aware of the need to bring more development to the Chicagoland area, which is why we are strongly opposed to policy proposals like HB 116 that would open the door to a destructive policy like rent control or rent caps on residential and commercial properties.
Data shows that the Chicago Metro market needs to add at least 48,000 new units by 2030 to keep up with demand. Allowing communities to introduce rent control not only discourages builders from building, it discourages investors from lending. Price controls on rent negatively impact the housing market by deferring maintenance of existing housing and discouraging construction of new housing.
Economists overwhelmingly warn against the unintended consequences of rent control. I'm not an economist, but what I do know is that cutbacks in development and investment in new projects trickle down to those performing the work to build and maintain properties. In short -- less investment in new and/or existing development means less jobs for our workers.
The best way to address the need for more affordable housing is to support proposals that ultimately lead to the creation of more development. We must work collaboratively to keep investments in our communities while construction professionals work to build strong, diverse and equitable neighborhoods across Illinois.
Tom Cuculich, Executive Director
Chicagoland Associated General Contractors