Rent Control since 1900: A European Matter

Housing between Liberalism and Control
By Danièle Voldman

Government capping of prices for a wide range of essential products such as foodstuffs, fuel, transport and rent, has long been a demand of the working class. Throughout European history, this policy was implemented under various names, either out of political choice or to curb an explosive social situation, or to regulate a housing market regarded as unstable. The two turning points in the history of state regulation of rents, which coincided with the First World War and the development of welfare states after 1945, were followed by various attempts to end state interventionism. Reformers may have advocated such policies in the name of social justice, but landlords regarded them as a restriction on individual liberties, and, above all, they were widely viewed as a counterproductive aberration in the economic sphere.

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