Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) of the U.S. Senate sent a bicameral letter to the White House on January 9 urging President Biden to take executive action to address the rising cost of rent, end corporate price gouging in real estate, and ensure renters and people experiencing homelessness have safe, stable housing.
The letter, signed by 50 members of Congress, lists seven executive actions the administration should take to expand tenant protections and help rein in the cost of housing. These suggestions include:
- Directing the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to establish renter protections for tenants in properties financed with government-backed mortgages.
- Instructing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue regulations defining excessive rent increases as a practice that unfairly affects commerce, and enforcing action against unfair rent-gouging practices.
- Directing HUD to issue guidance to entitlement jurisdictions on the importance of mitigating housing cost-burdens and adopting anti-rent-gouging measures as an important aspect of affirmatively furthering fair housing.
- Encouraging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to work with HUD to investigate instances of corporate landlords discriminating against tenants.
- Encouraging states to use State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) provided in the “American Rescue Plan Act” to invest in the construction of affordable housing for people with the lowest incomes, and to strengthen and extend emergency rental assistance programs.
- Activating Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resources to help move people experiencing homelessness into permanent, affordable homes.
- Establishing a Federal Interagency Council on Tenants’ Rights to identify interagency actions that could be taken to support renters and coordinate the implementation of renter-protection policies.
NLIHC and our colleagues at the National Housing Law Project (NHLP) sent a letter with similar requests to the White House in August 2022 (see Memo, 8/16/22). NLIHC’s Tenant Leader Cohort has also advocated with the White House to strengthen renter protections (see Memo, 12/12/22).
Read the letter to the White House sent by Representative Bowman and Senator Warren at: https://bit.ly/3kd73bx
Read Representative Bowman’s press release regarding the letter at: https://bit.ly/3X8IZ83