The Biden-Harris administration released a Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights aiming to strengthen and enforce critical renter protections and announced new actions for federal agencies implementing housing assistance. NLIHC applauded the administration’s actions in a statement while calling for more work to be done.
Among the new actions announced by the White House are the following:
- The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will launch a public process to examine proposed renter protections and anti-rent gouging measures for new federally backed mortgages.
- The administration will hold quarterly meetings with renters and advocates to continue the conversation on renter protections and will launch a Resident-Centered Housing Challenge, a call to action to housing providers and other stakeholders to commit to renter protections.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will collect information to identify unfair practices that prevent tenants from accessing or staying in housing, informing each agency’s enforcement actions. This is the first time the FTC has acted on renter protections.
- The CFPB will issue guidance and coordinate with the FTC on enforcement to ensure accurate credit reporting.
- HUD will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require public housing authorities and owners of project-based rental assistance properties to provide at least 30 days’ advanced notice before terminating a lease due to nonpayment of rent.
These actions are aligned with five principles for renter protections outlined in the Blueprint, including ensuring (1) access to safe, quality, accessible, and affordable housing; (2) clear and fair leases; (3) enforcement of renter rights and protection from unlawful discrimination and exclusion; (4) the right to organize without obstruction or harassment from landlords; and (5) eviction prevention, diversion, and relief.
The announcements are the culmination of a months-long process by the Biden-Harris administration to gather input and consider opportunities to strengthen tenant protections. NLIHC urged the administration to take decisive actions such as those recommended by NLIHC and the NLIHC-led HoUSed campaign and Tenant Leader Cohort. NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel and members of NLIHC’s Tenant Leader Cohort met with White House officials in late 2022. Additionally, Diane participated in two small group meetings with senior administration officials in the West Wing of the White House during the same period.
“Strengthening and enforcing renter protections is vitally important to addressing the broader housing crisis,” said Diane in a statement. “There is a tremendous power imbalance in our housing system that tilts heavily in favor of landlords at the expense of low-income and other marginalized renters, putting families at greater risk of housing instability and homelessness and fueling racial inequity. The administration’s announcements today are an important step towards achieving President Biden’s commitment to establishing a Renters Bill of Rights, but there is much more work still to be done.”
“The time, energy and focus that the Biden-Harris administration dedicated to strengthening tenant protections and to hearing directly from impacted people at the White House is significant and historic,” she continued. “But while today’s actions include important steps forward, the White House missed opportunities to act on other key recommendations. NLIHC remains committed to working closely with the administration and Congress to take necessary actions to ensure renters with the lowest incomes remain stably housed.”
Read the administration’s Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights at: https://bit.ly/3wrcvdN
Read a fact sheet about the actions and Blueprint at: http://bit.ly/3WCVcRi
Read NLIHC’s statement at: https://bit.ly/3kL3VUE