BAM Key Details

  • On January 26, 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new actions to protect renters and promote rental affordability. 
  • These actions align with The White House Blueprint for a Renters Bills of Rights, also released today. 

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced  The White House Blueprint for a Renters Bills of Rights, as well as new actions meant to protect renters. 

New Actions to Promote Rental Affordability

For the first time, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have issued a request for information exposing unfair practices in the rental market, as outlined in the White House Fact Sheet.

The two independent agencies will collect information to identify practices that unfairly prevent applicants and tenants from accessing or staying in housing. The agencies will seek information to inform policy actions on a broad range of practices, including:

  • Creation and use of tenant background checks
  • Use of algorithms in tenant screenings
  • Provision of adverse action notices by landlords and property management companies
  • How an applicant’s source of income factors into housing decisions

In addition, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), also an independent agency, is working to increase affordability in the multifamily rental market by encouraging the financing of multifamily loans, as announced in November 2022. Freddie Mac and Fannie purchased $142 billion in multifamily loans in 2022, for over one million units. If this trend continues in 2023, it would mean an investment in about 700,000 affordable housing units. 

For a full list of actions announced, view the White House Fact Sheet.

Renters Bill of Rights

The announcements are part of a broader set of federal actions designed “to improve the quality of life for renters.” 

The White House Blueprint for a Renters Bills of Rights reviews five principles, each of which  protects renters:

  1. Safe, Quality, Accessible, and Affordable Housing
  2. Clear and Fair Leases
  3. Education, Enforcement, and Enhancement of Renter Rights
  4. The Right to Organize
  5. Eviction Prevention, Diversion, and Relief

The administration is also launching the Resident-Centered Housing Challenge, “a call to action to housing providers and other stakeholders to strengthen practices.” As an early supporter of the challenge, Realtor.com Rentals is piloting a new listing process that will highlight units that welcome Housing Choice Vouchers. 

Additional early supporters of the challenge include:

  • Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA)
  • Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF)
  • National Apartment Association 
  • National Association of Realtors and its affiliate, the Institute of Real Estate Management
  • National Multifamily Housing Council 

What about affordable homeownership?

While it’s good news that rents won’t skyrocket, Byron Lazine asked a question on this morning’s Hot Sheet

What is the Biden administration doing to actually get more people to own a home? There’s been plenty of wealth studies that homeownership is a direct line to generational wealth…so what is the Biden administration going to do to help people become homeowners?

Byron Lazine

With rent growth slowing over the past seven months, rent is currently $800 less per month than buying a home, according to Realtor.com®’s December Rental Report. This trend, coupled with an increase in multifamily units, means that rents will continue to be the more affordable option if nothing is done about housing affordability. 

And in turn, this could stop people from becoming homeowners and building generational wealth. 

As an agent, you can help educate people on building a plan for homeownership, even when it seems like renting is the only affordable option.