DEFINITION of 'Rent Ceiling'

A maximum price a landlord is allowed to charge for rent. Rent ceilings are usually set by law and limit how high the rent can go in a specified area. However, as a result of this regulation, the quantity of available housing is often decreased because landlords are not willing to rent out their property for a low price.

BREAKING DOWN 'Rent Ceiling'

Many economists question the effectiveness of rent ceilings. They have no effect if the equilibrium price is below the ceiling. If the ceiling is set below the equilibrium level, however, then there is a deadweight loss created. Other problems come in the form of black markets, search time and fees which are not exactly rent such as "key money" (large initial cost for new keys).

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