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'Rent Control Makes No Sense'

June 01, 1985

More frequently than not, I find myself warmly supportive of your stance on social and economic issues, but your editorial on rent control is not up to your usual standards in rationale or in substance.

For many years I have acquiesced in your contention that the free market should ber permitted to work. I have done so by silently accepting rental rates that hav more than doubled in the past few years. But recent developments have demonstrated that rent control, while undesirable, is inevitable.

On May 13 the tenants in our apartment complex were stunned by the notice that the new owners, who had come into possession 10 days previously, were increasing the monthly rates by percentages ranging from 33% to 48%, the major portion of which would be in effect in 31 days and the remainder in three months. For those who cannot make such an instant adjustment in family economy, this sudden, sharp hike in rental rates is tantamount to eviction without cause. From those who can absorb the increase the responses have included words such as "excessive," "unreasonable," "unconscionable."

Some tenants have already left. Others are packing. Still others are saying, "All we can do is to pay it; we have no alternative."

The tragedy is that in Claremont, and in many other municipalities, there is no law to prohibit such action on the part of landlords. There must be.

I take vigorous exception to your statement that the one reason for rent control in Los Angeles is that "there are more tenants (read voters ) than landlords." The implication is that the voices of the majority must be silenced. I still hear vague rumors that democracy is still alive in America. I fervently pray that it is.

SAMUEL E. CARRUTH

Claremont

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