United States

Does new Renters Bill of Rights endorse national rent control?

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Man inspecting important document with magnifying glass

The White House recently released its non-binding "Blueprint for Renters Bill of Rights," which sets out five essential rights that all 44 million renter households in the US should have access to:

  • “Safe, Quality, and Accessible Affordable Housing”
  • “Clear and Fair Leases”
  • “Education, Enforcement, and Enhancement of Renter Rights”
  • “The Right to Organize”
  • “Eviction Prevention, Diversion, and Relief”

The proposal aims to consolidate state and local housing laws into one comprehensive federal bill by encouraging government-controlled programs (HUD, USDA, GSEs like Freddie Mac, etc.) to update their policies and practices to be fairer and more resident-centered.

Suggested solutions include grace periods for late rent payments, funding and free legal counsel for tenants facing eviction, and stronger standards against housing discrimination.

Despite widespread public support for national rent control, the consensus of many economists and housing experts is that it doesn't work as intended. In alignment with that, the closest reference to this polemical measure in the Renters Bill of Rights is that rent increases should be "reasonable.”

Cowen housing policy analyst Jaret Seiberg doesn't believe the White House will directly interfere with rental costs.

“[The Supreme Court] is less inclined to let agencies assert authorities that Congress did not explicitly give them,” Seiberg writes. “It’s why we would expect the courts to reject this type of regime.”

More housing policy headlines

Renters say Biden's affordable housing plan doesn't counter surging rent – Business Insider

Orange County officials approve tenant bill of rights – WESH

New year, new housing laws – are you compliant? – PayProp

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