Thanks to rent control, fugitive gangster Whitey Bulger was paying no more than $1,145 a month to live in a two-bedroom Santa Monica apartment three blocks from the Pacific Ocean, even as he kept hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in the apartment, The Boston Globe reports.
Who is the bigger gangster, Bulger or the lawmakers who prevent property owners from charging a market-rate rent for such apartments? One of the perverse incentives of rent control is that the landlords stuck with rent-controlled apartments tend to find the richest possible tenants to lease to, in part because of the difficulty of evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent. So the rent-control laws wind up helping people, like Bulger, who could afford market-rate rents.
It's been a while since I've been in Santa Monica, but when I was working for the Los Angeles Times in Southern California in the mid-1990s, it was pretty nice there. A lot of homeless people, but good restaurants and nice weather.