Renters who had an apartment saved money.

A sidewalk view of 19 Garden St., Cambridge, Mass., which is a multi-story brick apartment complex on a busy city street.]

A good apartment could cost less than $1,200 per month.

In 1994, the New York Times wrote an article about the voter referendum that repealed rent control.

Senior citizen Joan Shelzi rented an apartment in what she called a “good neighborhood” in Cambridge.

Under rent control, she paid $579 a month ($1179 in 2023 dollars) in rent.

This is where she lived.

A street-level photograph of the building that encompasses 70-75 Beacon Street, Massachusetts. It is a multi-story gray stone building with dark gray slate roof, and trees along the sidewalk.]

One Boston Common apartment was almost free.

In a 2003 New York Times article discussing the history of rent control, Boston landlord Joe Maffe reported that under rent control, his tenant’s rent on a Beacon Street apartment near Boston Common had been $302 ($615 in 2023 dollars).

This was a rate that had not changed for at least 12 years.

This is where he lived.

A scan of the first page of a 2009 paper from the American Institute of Economic Research, with a section highlighted and zoomed in. It reads “The effect of rent controls on controlled rents. Several studies find that rent control reduces rents in the controlled sector. Studying Los Angeles, California, 1969-1978, Fallis and Smith (1997) find that ‘the data confirm that rent controls effectively constrained rents on controlled units’ (199). Writing of New York City in 1968, Gyourko and Linneman (1989) interpret the lower rents as a subsidy to the tenant: ‘All benefits are expressed in 1984 dollars. The benefit associated with occupying a rent-controlled unit is quite large, with a mean annual subsidy of approximately $2440 or an average of 27.2% of annual income’ (61).”

Absolute price locks provided substantial subsidy.

A 2009 paper by the American Institute of Economic Research reviewed all rent control papers then published.

Renters with price locks received substantial benefit.

Price locked apartments saved renters more than a quarter of their household’s income!