Rent Control vs. Rental Restrictions: What’s the Difference?

Rent control and rental restrictions are both forms of regulation that aim to address the affordable housing crisis and protect tenants from rising rents. However, these two policies have distinct differences in their approach and implementation. In this article, we will explore the key differences between rent control and rental restrictions.

Rent Control

Rent control is a government policy that sets limits on how much landlords can charge for rent. The goal of rent control is to keep housing costs affordable for low-income tenants while also providing stability for long-term residents. This type of regulation typically applies to older buildings with a certain number of units, often referred to as “rent-controlled” or “rent-stabilized” units.

Key Features of Rent Control

  • Rent is set at a specific amount that cannot be increased beyond a certain percentage each year. This percentage is determined by the government and varies depending on the jurisdiction.
  • Tenants have the right to renew their lease and stay in the unit indefinitely as long as they continue to abide by the terms of their rental agreement.
  • Landlords are required to maintain basic living standards for their tenants, such as providing heat and hot water, repairing damages, and ensuring the safety of the building.

Rental Restrictions

Rental restrictions, also known as rent stabilization or rental regulation, are policies that limit the number of rental units in a specific area. This type of regulation is often implemented in cities with high housing demand and limited supply. The goal of a rental restriction in Georgia is to prevent landlords from charging exorbitant rents by limiting the competition among renters.

Key Features of Rental Restrictions

  • A cap on the number of rental units allowed in a certain area.
  • Limits on how much landlords can increase rent for existing tenants.
  • Requirements for landlords to obtain permits or licenses before renting out their properties.

Differences between Rent Control and Rental Restrictions

While both rent control and rental restrictions aim to regulate the housing market, there are some key differences between the two policies.

  • Control vs. restrictions: Rent control sets specific limits on how much landlords can charge for rent, while rental restrictions limit the number of rental units in a certain area.
  • Scope of regulation: Rent control typically applies to older buildings or a specified number of units, whereas rental restrictions often apply to all rental properties within a designated area.
  • Duration of tenancy: Under rent control, tenants have the right to stay in their unit indefinitely as long as they continue to abide by their lease agreement. Rental restrictions may have limitations on how long a tenant can stay in a unit or may require landlords to obtain new permits after a certain period.
  • Impact on landlords: Rent control can limit the profits of landlords, while rental restrictions may create barriers for landlords looking to enter the market.


Rent control and rental restrictions are both attempts at regulating the housing market to address affordability and stability issues. While rent control focuses on setting limits on rent prices, rental restrictions aim to limit competition among renters. Both policies have their own set of benefits and drawbacks, and their effectiveness depends on various factors such as local housing supply and demand. It is important for policymakers to carefully consider the differences between these two policies before implementing them in their communities.