Rent control refers to laws or ordinances that set price controls on the renting of residential housing. It functions as a price ceiling. Rent control exists in approximately 40 countries around the world. Rent control laws vary from one country to another, and may vary from one jurisdiction to another within some countries.
Rent control is intended to protect tenants in privately owned residential properties from excessive rent increases by mandating gradual rent increases, while at the same time ensuring that landlords receive a fair return on their investment. Sometimes called rent leveling or rent stabilization, rent control promotes economic stability by slowing displacement in booming economic cycles. However, as with any other sort of price control, rent control tends to create shortages and exacerbate scarcity in the housing market.[third-party source needed]