February 1, 2023In News, Uncategorized4 Minutes

Actions to Protect Renters and Promote Rental Affordability Announced by White House

On January 25, 2023, the Biden-Harris administration released a fact sheet announcing new actions in their efforts toward increasing fairness in the rental market and furthering principles of fair housing.

Blueprint for a Renter’s Bill of Rights

These actions include and are aligned with a newly published Blueprint for a Renter’s Bill of Rights laying out a set of principles to drive action by the federal government, state and local partners, and the private sector to strengthen tenant protections and encourage rental affordability. Some of the key protections outlined in this plan are:

  • Safe, Quality, Accessible, and Affordable Housing: Renters should have access to housing that is safe, decent, and affordable.
  • Clear and Fair Leases: Renters should have a clear and fair lease that has defined rental terms, rights, and responsibilities.
  • Education, Enforcement, and Enhancement of Renter Rights: Federal, state, and local governments should do all they can to ensure renters know their rights and to protect renters from unlawful discrimination and exclusion.
  • The Right to Organize: Renters should have the freedom to organize without obstruction or harassment from their housing provider or property manager.
  • Eviction Prevention, Diversion, and Relief: Renters should be able to access resources that help them avoid eviction, ensure the legal process during an eviction proceeding is fair, and avoid future housing instability.

The fact sheet also details actions announced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), while committing the Administration to holding quarterly meetings with a broad, diverse, and varying group of tenants and tenant advocates to ensure they continue to have a seat at the table and can share ambitious ideas to strengthen tenant protections.

Resident-Centered Housing Challenge

In addition to its internal efforts, the Administration is rallying state and local stakeholders and private housing actors to drive further action to protect renters in line with the Blueprint. As part of this effort, the Administration is launching the Resident-Centered Housing Challenge, a call to action to housing providers and other stakeholders to strengthen practices and make their own independent commitments that improve the quality of life for renters. The Challenge, which will occur during the Spring of 2023, also encourages states, local, Tribal, and territorial governments to enhance existing policies and develop new ones that promote fairness and transparency in the rental market. Early support of the Challenge, which would affect over 15 million rental units, include commitments from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), members of the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF), Realtor.com Rentals, National Apartment Association, National Association of Realtors and its affiliate the Institute of Real Estate Management, and the National Multifamily Housing Council, each outlined in the fact sheet.

The Administration is also welcoming additional commitments from interested stakeholders to: pursue high-road practices aligned with the Blueprint principles; create new benefits for residents that enhance their economic mobility, build credit, and prepare them for homeownership; reduce or eliminating rental “junk fees,” which are the hidden fees, charges, and add-ons that take cash out of people’s pockets; expand pathways to eviction mitigation and prevention; and enhance and increase communication about tenant rights. To join the Challenge, interested partners can complete this survey by April 28, 2023. Questions regarding the White House Resident-Centered Housing Challenge team, can be directed to RCHousingChallenge@who.eop.gov.