Washington, D.C. - The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued yesterday a Request for Input (RFI) on how the agency can create and enforce renter protections for households living in rental properties with federally backed mortgages.
“Federal renter protections are needed to address the power imbalance between landlords and renters that puts renters at greater risk of housing instability, harassment, and homelessness and fuels racial inequity,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “The Biden-Harris administration has an opportunity now to create strong, enforceable renter protections for a significant share of renters across the nation and to put America on a pathway towards stronger protections for all renters.”
Due to the tremendous power imbalance between landlords and renters, far too many renters experience discrimination, unfair rent increases, evictions, and in worst cases, homelessness. In many parts of the country, renters have few legal protections against harmful landlord abuses, and too often, the rights renters do have go unenforced.
NLIHC’s top priorities for federal renter protections include: source-of-income protections to prohibit landlords from discriminating against households receiving housing assistance and to give families greater choice about where to live; “just cause” eviction standards and the right to renew leases to help protect renters from housing instability; anti-rent gouging protections to stop landlords from dramatically raising rents; and requirements to ensure housing is safe, decent, accessible, and healthy for renters and their families.
At a minimum, FHFA should center its effort to create renter protections on the need to establish racial and social equity as an explicit goal, set mandatory requirements for all landlords and all rental properties with federally backed mortgages, and pair protections with strong enforcement. All actions by FHFA should be informed by continued engagement with renters and directly impacted people.
“The Biden-Harris administration has done more than any other administration in our country’s history to lift up the need for robust renter protections,” said Yentel. “While the administration is not yet committing to take any particular action, FHFA’s Request for Input is historic. It is critical that the administration hears directly from renters and advocates on the need for strong, enforceable protections to help keep renters stably housed.”
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