Many Rental Homes Face Risks from Natural Hazards

A new analysis published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University examines the exposure of rental housing to natural hazards. Using data from FEMA’s National Risk Index (NRI), the analysis finds that approximately 40% of the occupied rental housing stock – or 17.6 million rental homes – are in high-risk communities, defined by JCHS as having moderate, high, or very high expected annual loss (EAL) ratings in the NRI. These rental homes are disproportionately concentrated in the western and southern regions of the United States.

JCHS identifies single-family rentals and manufactured homes as the structure types with the highest risks. Approximately 6.6 million (45%) single-family rentals and 1.1 million (56%) manufactured homes are in high-risk communities. Many lower-cost and federally subsidized rental homes are also at high risk, according to JCHS, including 4 million rental homes with contract rents below $600 and 2.1 million federally subsidized rental homes. More than half (57%) of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rental homes, 39% of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) rental homes, and 29% of rental homes with HUD project-based subsidies are in high-risk communities.

NLIHC and the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) released the “Taking Stock Mapping Tool” in September 2021. The mapping tool uses FEMA NRI data and data on subsidized housing from the National Housing Preservation Database (NHPD) to describe the risks faced by subsidized housing units around the country from natural hazards. Users can assess risks at both the property and neighborhood levels to inform disaster mitigation strategies, pre-disaster planning, and disaster mitigation, response, and recovery policies. The tool draws on data from a report by NLIHC and PAHRC that assessed risk for federally subsidized and market-rate rental housing using an earlier version of the NRI.

Read the JCHS analysis at:  

Use the Taking Stock Mapping Tool at: