White House launches plan to protect renters’ rights
Dear Clients and Friends,
In January, the White House released a “Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights.”
While the white paper is not binding government policy, it does signal the administration’s intent to bolster affordable housing through new government protections for renters. Over 44 million households, or roughly 35 percent of the U.S. population, live in rental housing, according to the White House. The administration aims to protect those renters by addressing affordability, evictions and housing discrimination in the rental market.
Among the proposals:
• The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) will examine limits on “egregious rent increases” in properties backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The agency will also look at strategies to encourage financing for affordable multifamily housing.
• The Federal Trade Commission will examine using its authority to counteract unfair rental practices that prevent people from obtaining housing. That could include persistent eviction records in background reports as well as high application fees. • FHFA currently requires that tenants be given at least 30 days’ notice to vacate for nonpayment of rent, when those tenants live in multifamily properties with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Now those agencies will collaborate to provide a look-up tool so renters can determine whether their property qualifies.
• Fannie Mae has also launched a pilot program to offer a pricing incentive to property owners who agree not to discriminate against Housing Choice Voucher holders. The program is designed to increase the number of owners who participate in the voucher program.
As previously announced, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will also direct $20 million to the Eviction Protection Grant Program to provide legal assistance to low-income tenants facing eviction. That would help renters better navigate the legal system.
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