Letter to Committee Chairmen Recommending Extension of Rent Control.
Dear Mr. Chairman:
As you know, the Housing and Rent Act of 1950 will eliminate rent control in all incorporated cities, towns and villages, after December 31, 1950, unless they have taken affirmative action by that date to continue such control. I strongly recommend that the Congress extend that date to March 31, 1951. Such an extension would not interfere with the authority local communities now have to decontrol rents when in their judgment it seems proper.
The present rent control law was enacted before the outbreak of hostilities in Korea. It was passed to provide for the orderly transition to a free rental market in a peacetime economy. There has been a marked change in the situation since the law was passed. The outbreak of aggression during recent months has compelled us to move rapidly to increase our military strength. We are expanding our Army, Navy, and Air Force. We are stepping up our production of defense items and increasing our industrial capacity. To carry out this program successfully and to safeguard our economy, it will be necessary to keep rents in vital defense areas from rising to unreasonable levels.
Therefore, we must consider anew the whole problem of rent control in relation to the pressures now being created by the defense program. We must look into the situation around reactivated military camps and installations so that servicemen and their families can be given necessary protection against rent gouging. We must prevent high rents from interfering with the recruiting of defense workers and their movement to defense jobs. We must consider the relation of rent control to the price and wage aspects of our stabilization program.
I realize that there is insufficient time for the Congress to make a full investigation of these problems and consider a new rent control law during the present session. Moreover, during the next few months it should be possible to form a more accurate judgment concerning the effects of our expanded defense program on rents and housing needs. The extension of the automatic decontrol date to March 31, 1951, will permit the Eighty-second Congress to give full consideration to the effects of our defense program and make whatever changes in the law may be necessary. Unless this extension is made, many communities may be decontrolled by the operation of the present law before they, or the Congress, have been able to examine the problems confronting them, and with results that may be damaging to the national defense.
I will appreciate it if you will take this matter up with your committee with a view to obtaining favorable action upon such an extension.
Very sincerely yours,
HARRY S. TRUMAN
Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Burnet R. Maybank, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency,' and to the Honorable Brent Spence, Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency.
On December 20, 1950, the President approved a bill extending rent control until March 31, 1951 (64 Stat. 1113).
Harry S Truman, Letter to Committee Chairmen Recommending Extension of Rent Control. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230477