I own rental property in DC, though not enough to be covered by rent control laws. Frankly, if I were in a position to buy more rental property, I would do so. The article only hints at how active the rental property market is. No one buys rental property out of desperation, so I think those who advocate for totally unregulated a market need to explain why so many would "volunteer" for odious regulation.I think that the author's use of scare quotes around the world "volunteer" is quite telling; the author knows that there nothing voluntary about the government's regulation of rents under the penalty of the law. And the reason why landlords stay or enter the rental business despite government regulation is easily explained simply by looking at a supply and demand graph. Price controls punish those whose costs are greater than the legally mandated price; they put some people out of business, but they don't put everyone out of business.
In the case of rent control, it's those landlords with the thinnest margins (perhaps by owning an older, more maintenance-heavy building) that are the most impacted. Other landlords, with more efficient buildings, may be able to operate under the regulatory caps with no ill effect, but this is hardly uniform and proof of the negative fallout that I claim is evidenced by the blight one sees in the typically older, less affluent neighborhoods.
Rather than serve the poor as the proponents of rent control assert, these regulations do little more than attack businessmen and women who absent rent control would be more than willing and able to provide housing to the poor—but at free market rates. Again, at root, you cannot build a house of cards where is possible to get something for nothing and not expect that house to come down.