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NLIHC, NHLP, and TUF Release National Tenants Bill of Rights, a Practical Policy Agenda for Renters

Government must affirm basic protections for its 114 million tenants

Washington, D.C. – The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), National Housing Law Project (NHLP), and Tenant Union Federation (TUF) today released the National Tenants Bill of Rights, a practical and comprehensive policy agenda to strengthen and enforce the rights of renters. Informed by tenants, organizers, legal experts, and housing justice advocates, the National Tenants Bill of Rights outlines fundamental protections for the 114 million Americans who rent their homes. The policy agenda is designed to shape action at the federal level, but its principles and policies are also applicable at the state and local levels to ensure the basic right of tenants to a stable, safe, and healthy home.

The nation’s housing crisis continues to worsen: most tenants are rent-burdened, landlords are filing more evictions, and homelessness is at a record-high. Many landlords and institutional investors profit from a discriminatory housing system that lacks basic tenant protections. The National Tenants Bill of Rights would complement affordable housing initiatives, bring down costs for renters, and begin to level the power imbalance between tenants and landlords. 

“The National Tenants Bill of Rights would provide historic and unprecedented local, state, and federal protections for renters and improve the systemic power imbalance between landlords and renters that continues both to put renters at increased risk of housing insecurity, eviction, and homelessness and fuel racial inequity,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “The Tenants Bill of Rights was written with direct input from renters and tenant leaders, putting forward a bold vision for how our housing market can center and prioritize the needs of renters. NLIHC is committed to working with advocates nationwide to advance the critical protections included in the Tenants Bill of Rights at all levels of government.”

“Landlords can evict tenants for just about any reason or no reason at all, forcing them to live in a state of anxiety. Corporate landlords and private equity investors have the rental market in a chokehold and have turned tenants’ homes into profit-making schemes,” said National Housing Law Project Executive Director Shamus Roller. “The National Tenants Bill of Rights is a landmark policy agenda that can give renters the basic protections that they deserve. The scale of our housing crisis requires a national response, and the federal government must play a role in protecting renters.”

“Tenants need federal protections, especially when rents are higher than they have ever been and landlords have more consolidated power than ever before,” said Tara Raghuveer, director of the Tenant Union Federation. “This policy is an important first step to providing stability and justice to millions of tenants and, ultimately, to prioritizing people over profits.” 

The National Tenants Bill of Rights would establish a baseline of tenant protections in the rental housing market, including a tenant’s right to:

  • A fair application.
  • A fair lease.
  • Freedom from discrimination and harassment.
  • A habitable home.
  • Reasonable rent and costs.
  • Organize.
  • Safeguards against evictions.

Full text of the National Tenants Bill of Rights may be found here, summaries of the rights here, and a fact sheet here.


The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated to achieving racially and socially equitable public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes have quality homes that are accessible and affordable in communities of their choice.

The National Housing Law Project’s mission is to advance housing justice for poor people and communities. We achieve this by strengthening and enforcing the rights of tenants and low-income homeowners, increasing housing opportunities for underserved communities, and preserving and expanding the nation’s supply of safe and affordable homes. 

The Tenant Union Federation is a union of unions – the first national organization of its kind, to establish tenants as a political class that cannot be ignored. The Federation is committed to the craft of tenant organizing and will officially launch later this summer.