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Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we firmly believe that we have presented convincing reasons why rent control should be permitted to end on June 30.
We have pointed out that there is no basis whatsoever for continued rent control in the World War II defense rental areas; also, that in the critical defense areas the problem of meeting the housing needs of military and defense personnel is being met adequately and competently by the local communities and private initiative.
We have also revealed instances showing how the rent control law has been shaped and twisted to suit the wishes of the Rent Director, and the inherent inequality that runs through the whole structure of this type of control.
We have further raised a grave question as to the constitutionality of a continuation of rent control.
We are confident that the committee, after weighing all the facts, will reaffirm its faith in the American system of free enterprise by permitting rent control to terminate on June 30.
(The exhibits at the end of the statement are as follows:)
CLASSIFIED ADS Hint EASING OF HOUSING LACK
The units advertised were apartments, houses, duplexes, and rooms.
A marked drop in "wanted to rent” ads and a rise in "for rent" ads indicates an almost complete easing of the rental market in Minneapolis, according to Robert Witte, classified advertising manager of the papers.
There were 123,682 individual ads "for rent" in 1951, Witte said.
He pointed out that fewer landlords are imposing restrictions such as "no children" or "no pets" and that "wanted to rent" ads seldom carry the "desperate for a place to live" theme that was common just after the war.
There has been a drop to 26,513 "wanted to rent" ads since the 1946 high of 57,629, Witte said.
"Unless there is a marked change in local conditions,” Witte said, "these figures would indicate that the rental housing shortage in Minneapolis probably is reaching an end."
He pointed out that some factors do not show in the figures. He said, some landlords read the "wanted to rent" ads and do not themselves advertise.
Some prospective tenants do not advertise but read the “for rent” ads.
Figures listed in the ads are subject to certain bargaining, he pointed out. There still is a wide variation in rental prices sought and rental prices asked, he said.
The advertising figures for the past 10 years:
NUMBER OF RENTAL ADS
APPEARING YEARLY IN THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR AND TRIBUNE
1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951
CAREFUL, Now The Federal Government has been as ked to declare Allegheny County a "critical rental housing area.”
If this were done, rent controls would be put back into effect in nine communities where the local councils and township commissions have lifted the ceilings. These include Wilkinsburg and Mt. Lebanon.
In addition, new rental units placed on the market during the past 5 ycars would be brought under Federal control for the first time.
This is a drastic step, which should be reserved for situations of extreme urgency. If we are ever o get away from Goverr mert controls, certainly extension of Federal supervision is not the way to accomplish that goal.
Rent control started out, like so many other things, as a wartime messure in the early days of World War II. There is no qrestion it was needed to prevent inflation, individual hardship, gouging, and other evils generated by a Fousing shortage.
Last year, when Congress was debating extension of rent control, we favored this. We felt that lifting rent ceilings all over the Nation would spark another dangerous inflationary spiral.
It looks as if Congress is going to tack arotter 1-year extension on this law, which now is scheduled to expire June 30. That may be justified, although we would prefer to hear more evidence on this score before a firal decision is reached.
But there's a big difference between keeping present rent ceilings ord imposing the harsh restrictions including rollbacks-hat acccmpany a "critical" designation
Last month, the Government saw fit to declare the Midland district in Beaver County a "critical housing area." It found there was a terrific shortage of housing there because of a huge influx of defense workers into the area.
When Wilkinsburg council voted to decontrol rents in that borough February 27, the CIO International Union of Electrical Workers sought to block the action. They wanted Federal officials to say no—even though the law gives the council the authority to remove rent ceilings.
The Federals now have said it's all right for Wilkinsburg to knock out rent controls-which is the only thing the Federals could say under the circumstances. Now the IUE would penalize the whole county for what Wilkinsburg has done, whether Wilkinsburg was justified or not.
So far as we can tell from the evidence on hand, there has been po sizable influx of defense workers or military men into Allegheny County. And those are the only two grounds on which å "critical" designation legally may be issued.
If there really is a critical shortage of rental housing in this county, let's establish it by definite proof, not by bureaucratic fiat and political pressure.
TREND ... This chart shows the number of apartment and home rental ads appearing each year in all Pittsburgh newspapers from the years 1942 to 1951.
ADDENDUM: CRITICAL AREAS-RENT CONTROL Map AREAS CERTIFIED UNDER PUBLIC LAW 139 (CRITICAL DEFENSE AREAS FOR “SUSPEN
SION OF CREDIT CONTROLS"), FEBRUARY 26 TO MAY 15, 1952 Orlando (Orange Company and part of Osceola Company), Fla., March 4, 1952 Cobalt, Idaho, March 7, 1952 Cascade (Valley County), Idaho April 14, 1952 Gary-Hammond-East Chicago, Ind., March 7, 1952 Sioux City, Iowa, May 8, 1952 Parsons (Labette County), Kans., February 28, 1952 Lawrence-Olathe, Kans., March 7, 1952 Indian Head (Charles County), Md., March 7, 1952 Beford, Mass., March 6, 1952 Oscoda, Mich., March 7, 1952 Freemont-Wahoo (Saunders County and part of Dodge County), Nebr., April 16,
TROL), FEBRUARY 26 TO MAY 15, 1952
DEFENSE RENTAL AREAS (UNDER WORLD WAR II RENT CONTROL) DECONTROLLED
BY LOCAL ACTION FEBRUARY 26 TO MAY 15, 1952