LETTER: Rent control in Kingston won't have desired effect

Daily Freeman-05-Feb 2020

I am a Realtor who has been working in the Kingston market since 2001 and was a city of Kingston resident until 2018, when my husband and I moved to the Town of Ulster. We still own property in the city of Kingston.

I strongly believe the push to implement rent control in Kingston is a misguided endeavor that will not achieve its desired outcome. While I agree with Mayor Steve Noble that more needs to be done in the area of affordable housing, studies indicate that rent control does not work.

A March 2019 study from a group of Stanford University researchers shows San Franc...sco’s recently enacted rent stabilization efforts have failed. Landlords in that case responded by converting their properties into condos, and some demolished their properties all together to avoid the strict rent-control restrictions. This drove down the supply of rental housing and, therefore, drove up rents across the city by 5.1%.

Another factor that has had a huge impact on our rental inventory has been the number of Airbnb units in the city of Kingston. Many of these apartments are no longer available to full-time tenants because property owners can make more money with short-term rentals.

Additionally, rent-stabilization policies often tend to discourage people from moving, harming worker mobility and the economic dynamism associated with it. Rent stabilization in the city of Kingston could exacerbate our zombie property problem as more landlords abandon properties due to the crushing burden of maintaining them.

Instead of imposing limits on rent increases, Kingston should continue working with stakeholders like RUPCO to provide affordable housing throughout the city. I am also disappointed that there were no Realtors involved or asked to participate in the housing study that was done recently. Their input would have provided helpful and accurate information.

I urge the Common Council to rethink this plan and really take note of the negative impacts this legislation will have on our housing market. Once it is in place, it will be very difficult to retract.

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