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

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

Green alley under construction

A New Paradigm for Stormwater Management

Rather than shuttling stormwater away from the city and into the ocean as quickly as possible, Los Angeles is now—slowly—moving toward a ‘city-as-sponge’ approach that would capture and reclaim more water to recharge crucial reservoirs.

43 seconds ago - Curbed

Aerial view of residential neighborhood in La Habra, California at sunset

Orange County Project Could Go Forward Under ‘Builder’s Remedy’

The nation’s largest home builder could receive approval for a 530-unit development under an obscure state law as the city of La Habra’s zoning laws hang in limbo after the state rejected its proposed housing plan.

1 hour ago - Orange County Register

Protesters with signs in Atlanta after Tyre Nichols murder

Memphis: Crime-fighting Camera Sheds Light on Police Abuse

The irony is unmistakable. Public surveillance cameras, long controversial in the criminal justice community, provided pivotal video footage of the beating of motorist Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers at a traffic stop on January 7.

2 hours ago - The New York Times