Rent Control

Rent Control


The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® (NVAR) strongly opposes any form of rent control.

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Along with the greater focus on housing affordability in the Northern Virginia region come proposals to consider rent control or rent stabilization as a solution for the preservation of affordable housing units. 

Localities in Virginia are not authorized to pass rent control laws under the Dillon Rule which limits local government authority to only those powers granted by the General Assembly.  

At least one candidate for local office has recently cited rent control as a possible response to Amazon moving into Northern Virginia, and the idea is being explored by staff in a local planning and zoning department.

Four states and the District of Columbia permit local rent control. Numerous cities in these jurisdictions have attempted to solve the housing affordability crises by adopting some form of rent regulation. In some cases, the programs date back to World War II. Most tenant advocate groups and tenants lucky enough to locate rent-regulated housing praise the programs as lifesavers, citing protection from excessive rent increases, reduced tenant displacement, and reduced vacancies. But market analysts universally criticize any form of rent regulation, noting both negative economic effects on regulated housing markets and detrimental social effects in rent-regulated communities.

Economists strongly disagree that rent regulation creates a fairer housing market, arguing instead that it reduces the quantity and quality of available housing, discourages new construction, encourages eviction without just cause, increases rent for unprotected tenants, and creates other challenges for both landlords and tenants.


NVAR opposes rent control and rent stabilization laws and will strongly oppose any attempt to grant local governments in Virginia the authority to oversee rent control policies.



Rent control has not been expressly proposed in any local jurisdictions.  The Dillon Rule would not allow such a proposal at this time. However, with the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums set in place in response to Covid-19, there is a fear around the country that housing advocates will push for rent freezes and increased tenant protections to be codified into law after the pandemic.