President Biden and Vice President Harris have recently released new measures aimed at enhancing the equitable treatment of renters and enforcing the fundamental principles of fair housing. The plan presents a blueprint for a bill of rights for renters that outlines several guidelines for the federal government, state and local partners, and private sector to augment tenant protections and promote rental affordability. Among the notable initiatives disclosed are the following:
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) intend to amass information on discriminatory practices that hinder applicants and tenants from accessing or maintaining housing in order to bolster enforcement and policy actions.
The CFPB will issue guidance and collaborate with the FTC to ensure the accuracy of credit reporting and the accountability of background check firms that employ unreasonable procedures.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) plans to introduce a public process to examine proposed measures that promote renter protections and counteract exorbitant rent increases for future investments.
The US Department of Justice will host a workshop that will provide information for possible updates to guidance regarding anti-competitive information sharing, including in rental markets.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development 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 a 30-day notice before terminating a lease for nonpayment of rent.
To ensure that tenant voices are heard and innovative ideas are shared to strengthen tenant protections, the administration will hold quarterly meetings with a diverse and broad range of tenants and tenant advocates.
These measures are part of a broader set of federal actions that align with the principles expressed in the Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights. It highlights the protection renters should receive, including safe, quality, accessible, and affordable housing, clear and fair leases, education, enforcement, and enhancement of renter rights, the right to organize, and eviction prevention, diversion, and relief. The Administration is also encouraging state and local stakeholders and private housing actors to take further action to safeguard renters in accordance with the Blueprint.
As part of this initiative, the Administration is launching the Resident-Centered Housing Challenge, which urges housing providers and stakeholders to commit to improving the quality of life for renters. The Challenge encourages states, local, Tribal, and territorial governments to improve existing policies and develop new ones that promote equity and transparency in the rental market. Early commitments in support of the Challenge will impact over 15 million rental units, including the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). Members of the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) have also pledged to offer flexible payment plans for residents with outstanding rent and provide a range of notices and protections.