Last night one of my law students — who is also a realtor — informed me that many parts of northern Virginia do have a form of effective rent control. Various apartment buildings have to set aside a certain percentage of their apartments for low-rent uses and try to attract people who receive housing subsidies. He said this was true for Arlington but he wasn't sure about Fairfax County. (This article suggests Fairfax County does have a similar program, with rent subsidies. Although it does not state that the resulting rents are below market-clearing my student indicated that was true for Arlington County and also in Fairfax putting aside these apartments for low-income groups does seem to be a burden for the landlord.) I wouldn't call this "stringent" rent control but it has effects much like those of rent control. We should expect excess demand for those apartments, people masquerading as low-income when they are not, supplier reluctance to participate, and landlords who look for other ways of charging people for access to those apartments. My student claims we do observe these phenomena and that the program is a mess.
Should I throw a conniption?
In any case I probably will, as I had once pledged, spend a few days soon blogging local issues only. That's not a strict commitment; you'll still get Assorted Links and I'll break the truce if/when big news breaks elsewhere.