In discussing ways to stimulate the housing market, Felix Salmon wonders why we aren’t seeing more landlords buy up cheap homes to rent:

The backstory here is basically the big secular shift that Richard Florida talks about a lot, especially in his latest book. In order to have more renters we’ll need more landlords, and they don’t seem to be buying, record-low mortgage rates notwithstanding. What’s going to entice them into the market?

One way to encourage more landlords in some areas would be to remove rent controls. Allowing landlords to raise prices increases the value of the investment to them, and thus increases their willingness to pay.  In most places in the country this has gone by the wayside, but according to the most recent American Housing Survey there are still 529,000 housing units subject to rent control. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

Are there any other regulatory burdens preventing people from becoming landlords? The legal documents required are pretty lengthy, but I can’t picture that being a serious impediment. Any suggestions?

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