🔍 Demystifying Economic Claims: Countering the Grattan Institute’s Perspective on Rent Controls 🔍

Paul Brzeski
3 min readAug 17


It’s crucial to critically examine economic arguments, especially when they come from influential think tanks. A recent article from the Grattan Institute seems to dismiss rent controls as a solution to the housing crisis, claiming it would do more harm than good. Let’s break down their points and reveal the facts.

“Rents are rising because there’s not enough housing to go around.”

> While housing shortage does contribute to rising rents, it’s not the sole reason. Economic factors, inflation, changes in demand, and location-specific dynamics also play significant roles in rent increases.

“Traffic to suggests that rising rents mean people are economizing by sharing housing.”

> While some individuals might seek shared housing to cope with rising rents, this doesn’t address the broader issue of affordability. Many people, especially vulnerable groups, can’t rely on these strategies and still face difficulties finding suitable housing.

“Freezing rents would harm those who need to find new homes urgently.”

> This point assumes that the housing market would freeze entirely, but historical evidence from places with temporary rent freezes shows that supply and demand still adjust over time. Implementing smart regulations can mitigate this risk.

“Comparing rent caps to gas price caps isn’t valid due to housing shortage.”

> The analogy overlooks that both issues can be tackled with regulation, and housing shortage doesn’t mean we can’t implement targeted regulations to protect renters while addressing housing supply issues separately.

“Rent caps could lead to more homelessness.”

> Research indicates that well-designed rent controls can prevent extreme rent increases without causing homelessness. The key lies in implementing measures that balance tenant protection with landlords’ incentives to maintain housing supply.

“Rent controls could discourage housing construction.”

> While strict rent controls might discourage investment, moderate regulations can still provide incentives for developers to build more housing. The claim that all rent controls hamper construction doesn’t account for nuanced approaches.

“Evidence from San Francisco and New York shows negative impacts of rent controls”

> Drawing comparisons to other cities oversimplifies the issue. Each housing market is unique, and successful rent control policies need to be tailored to local conditions. Some cities’ policies don’t account for necessary adjustments and long-term planning.

“Stronger protections against rent increases are possible without freezing rents.”

> While targeted tenant protections are important, they alone might not be enough to ensure affordability. Rent controls can complement such protections, creating a balanced approach that benefits both tenants and landlords.

“ACT’s rent control approach can’t extend due to regional differences.”

> Tailoring rent control measures based on regional benchmarks is feasible with accurate data and a clear framework. Dismissing the possibility ignores the potential benefits of standardized protections against unreasonable rent hikes.

“Boosting Commonwealth Rent Assistance and housing investment is sufficient.”

> While these steps are helpful, they might not fully address market dynamics and affordability. Combining assistance with rent controls can provide a more comprehensive solution, ensuring long-term stability for both renters and landlords.

In a landscape where economic ideologies shape policy debates, it’s our responsibility to challenge assumptions and seek a balanced path forward. As we’ve dissected the Grattan Institute’s arguments on rent controls, it’s evident that a comprehensive approach is necessary — one that doesn’t shy away from regulating market forces but also considers the wellbeing of all stakeholders.

Let’s continue these discussions with open minds, exploring innovative ways to ensure housing affordability while nurturing a thriving real estate ecosystem. By embracing diverse viewpoints and evidence-based solutions, we can work towards a future where housing is not just a commodity, but a fundamental right accessible to all.



Paul Brzeski

Sharing my opinion and passions about the many things in life.