White House Announces Policies Aimed at Protecting Renters

The administration acknowledges its limited powers in solving the nation’s housing affordability crisis, but says new actions will examine unfair rental practices and recommend policies to state and local governments.

Read Time: 2 minutes

January 25, 2023, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Close-up of calendar on day 1 of month with "Pay Rent" written in red marker

Andrey_Popov / "Rent due"

New federal actions announced today aim to help struggling renters as housing costs for tenant households continue to rise and the nation faces a massive shortage of as many as 5 million homes. As Rachel Siegel reports in the Washington Post, the administration says the new policies are not simply a response to recent spikes in rents, but are designed to address the broader problem of housing affordability and fair housing.

The new policies include directives for several federal agencies to assess instances of unfair rental practices and a template for a Renters Bill of Rights that is not tied to any mandates. According to Siegel, “much of Biden’s plans rely on state and local governments, as well as housing providers around the nation, to join in.”

But the plan has buy-in from federal agencies, which are tasked with understanding unfair rental practices and other issues that disadvantage renters. “The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will collect information exploring unfair practices in the rental market,” while other federal agencies including the Justice Department will examine competition issues in the rental market.

The actions the administration can take are limited, Siegel points out. According to organizer Tara Raghuveer, “The White House announcement introduces potential for agency-level action but falls short of issuing directives to regulate rent and address consolidation of the rental market.” For now, housing policy remains largely a state and local issue.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023 in The Washington Post

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