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Can the White House’s ‘Renters Bill of Rights’ help tenants in crisis? Here’s what you need to know.

The federal government will soon begin collecting data to identify unfair practises that prevent tenants from finding housing, and it announced a slew of other initiatives to protect renters on Wednesday.

What else is new? The White House has issued a challenge to housing providers to improve their existing policies, as well as a “Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the Biden administration’s recent efforts to assist renters.

What exactly is a “Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights”?

The blueprint establishes guidelines for the government, state and local partners, and the private sector with the goal of protecting tenants and making rentals affordable, according to a White House press release.

According to the “Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights,” renters should:

Have access to safe, decent, and affordable housing.
Have a clear and fair lease with rental terms, rights, and responsibilities defined.
Know their rights and protect themselves from illegal discrimination and exclusion.
You must be able to organise without being harassed by housing providers or property managers.
Have access to resources that will assist them in avoiding eviction and future housing instability.

The White House Domestic Policy Council and National Economic Council released a document that is not a set of laws. It is, rather, a set of principles “intended to support the development of policies and practises that promote equity for Americans living in rental housing.”

Where does the government get its rental data?

The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will investigate tenant background checks, algorithms in tenant screenings, adverse action notices from landlords and property management companies, and how an applicant’s source of income influences housing decisions.

According to the White House, this is the first time the FTC has requested information about unfair practises in the rental market.

The Biden-Harris administration also plans to launch a new public process with suggested renter protections such as limits on “egregious rent increases for future investments,” according to the release.

Other organisations mentioned in the programme include:

The United States Department of Justice will hold a workshop to assist with potential guidance updates relating to anti-competitive information sharing.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will issue proposed rules requiring public housing authorities and owners of some rental assistance properties to provide at least 30 days’ notice before terminating a lease due to nonpayment.
In addition, the president’s administration has stated that it will hold quarterly meetings with a diverse group of tenants and tenant advocates to ensure that they can provide their own feedback.

How does the Resident-Centered Housing Challenge work?

The Resident-Centered Housing Challenge was also announced by the president’s administration.

It is a push for housing providers and other stakeholders to “strengthen practises and make their own independent commitments that improve the quality of life for renters,” according to the release.

The spring 2023 challenge will encourage governments at the state, local, tribal, and territorial levels to “enhance” and create new policies that promote fairness and transparency in the rental market.

Some agencies, such as the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, have already pledged to participate by capping annual rental increases for federally or state-subsidized affordable housing at 5% per year.

Members of the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future, which owns or manages 145,000 housing units across the United States, have promised to offer payment plans to residents who have worked with property management and have unpaid rent.

Members have also agreed to provide renters with:

At least 30 days’ notice to vacate for nonpayment of rent, at least five days’ notice to make up for a missed rent payment, and at least 60 days’ notice of any proposed sale or closure of a property.

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