The Problem of Rent-Controlled Buildings

There are so many fires in America on a daily basis. Some happen naturally, out of our hands; others because of us. Regardless of the cause, we must remain vigilant and determine why these fires happened, and what we can do to stop them. One fire statistic, in particular, that has many people on the edge of their seats is the high number of fires in rent-controlled buildings.

In big cities across the country, such as New York City or San Francisco, rent-controlled buildings are a very divisive issue, with the same amount of people on each side. Some think it’s a great policy, with many seeing rent control as providing affordable housing to poor tenants. Others see it rent control as leading to a shortage of apartments. With gentrification taking hold in many pricey cities, the issue of rent-controlled buildings is an issue that will not go away. In San Francisco, many older rent-controlled buildings are going up in flames.

Many of these buildings are not up to code when it comes to fire prevention, especially when it comes to the installation of sprinkler systems, with officials believe that the lack of sprinklers in these older buildings is leading to a rash of fires. It is estimated that around 5,000 buildings are missing up-to-date sprinkler systems. To be expected, the building owners are none too pleased with this development, as they believe the installation of sprinklers will mess with tenant equilibrium.

Should city officials force these property-owners to install new sprinklers?