Rent control has been around since 1944, but not until the mid 70's did strong legislation come into effect. The purpose - to ensure rental protection for both tenants and landlords. At the first of August rent control guidelines are published, taking into consideration inflation and upkeep costs and vacancy rates. Rents are allowed to increase a percentage of your rent. Now there are exceptions - such as renovation costs or a unit has become vacant and this is where as a tenant you could have problems. Some landlords will overpay for a building with the intention of a large housing increase and I will give you two examples of their tactics.
1. A young professional woman lived for 5 years in a rent controlled building. One day she receives notice the building has been sold and a letter from the new owner telling her how they take great pride in their buildings and like to keep them up. A month later she received contact from the management that her unit was due for a new bathroom and one would be installed while she was a work. When she arrived home the bathroom was gutted - no toilet, sink or bath etc.! She called management and was told some difficulties occurred but they were on it. Well for 6 months she complained to anyone who would listen and 6 months later she had a new bath, but unfortunately the wall between her unit and the neighbours was removed and replaced with a tarp! She moved!!
2. A 36 unit apartment had slid behind over the years of a complacent owner, on his death the building was sold by his heirs for a very large sum. Now the new owners said the first thing the building needed was new balconies. So the covered all the sliding doors with plywood for safety reason - blocking about 90% of natural light. Work has gone on for 6 months - very noisy, with little progress. About 1/3 or the tenants have given up their units, completed and rented for a substantial increase. Ownership is still the safest route - not infallible, but a least more control!