We’ve all heard the stories of rent control (government mandated price-controls and restrictions on rented properties such as apartments). In fact, rent control is the canonical example economists use to demonstrate the effects of price ceilings.
Well, this article from The Bay Citizen explain the consequences economists have long understood to come from rent control. The TL;DR version of this lesson is this: when prices are set artificially below the natural level of prices (as in this case, controlling rent), then the quantity demanded exceeds the quantity supplied (since consumers want more at the lower price and producers are less willing to supply at the price) and the market will suffer a shortage. That is precisely what we see here: apartments are being left empty. The stated aim of rent control is to allow those with a lower income the ability to find and keep apartments. If they are being left empty, then are we achieving this goal?