Harry S. Truman photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing the Housing and Rent Act of 1948.

March 30, 1948

I HAVE today signed S. 2182, the Housing and Rent Act of 1948, which extends a modified form of rent control for 1 year, until March 31, 1949.

This bill does not carry out all the recommendations I have made to the Congress for stronger rent control legislation, and will not give tenants all the protection they should have during the present housing shortage.

Nevertheless, the bill is better than no rent control at all. If I had not signed it, rent controls would have expired tomorrow midnight. As was true of the rent control bill of June 1947, I had no choice but to sign.

The administration will do everything it can under this Act to hold rents to reasonable levels. The Housing Expediter will use fully the power given him to protect tenants against illegal evictions--a power he did not have under last year's bill. But we cannot hope to be wholly successful in holding the line on rents with the powers granted by this law. Since the rent control law was weakened last June, rents have risen more than 6 percent over a period of 8 months. With continuing inflationary pressures and the extreme shortage of housing, the need for effective rent control continues to be as great as ever.

It is evident that only through substantial additions to the supply of rental housing, especially in the low and medium price range, can the need for rent control be eliminated. I have repeatedly recommended a Federal housing program giving strong support to rental housing construction. Over a month ago I sent to the Congress a special message containing a series of specific recommendations for such a program. I hope that the Congress will soon enact comprehensive housing legislation incorporating the recommendations I have made.

Note: As enacted, S. 2182 is Public Law 464, 80th Congress (62 Stat. 93).

For the President's statement upon signing the Housing Act of 1948, see Item 172.

Harry S Truman, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Housing and Rent Act of 1948. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232516

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