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Rent Control Laws

Rent control laws limit the amount by which the rental rate can be increased over time.

The rent for most housing units changes when one lease term ends and another begins. In cities with low vacancy rates, it's much more likely to go up rather than down. Rent control aims to minimize rent increases for certain units. If a rental unit is "controlled," then the landlord can only raise the rent by a certain percentage when it's time to sign a new lease. Rent control laws also hold landlords accountable for providing basic services and renewing leases with existing tenants, even if they don't want to.

Rent control landscape

Only a handful of states have laws in place that control rent. These include New York, California, New Jersey, and Oregon. Washington, D.C. also controls rent.

37 states prohibit cities from establishing local rent control policies. For example:

  • In North Carolina, no county or city is allowed to enact, maintain, or enforce any ordinance or resolution that regulates the amount of rent to be charged for privately owned, single-family or multiple unit residential or commercial rental properties.1
  • In Florida, state and local laws were updated in 20232 to remove the ability of local legislative bodies to enact rent control laws.

On the other hand, places like Nebraska, Montana, Ohio, West Virginia, Hawaii, Maine, and Pennsylvania don't limit local governments—but still have no rent control laws in place. That means that a town or city in these states could pass rent control legislation if they wanted to, but they haven't done so yet.


[1] NC Gen Stat § 42-14.1

[2] Live Local Act 2023

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.