“At Livable, we want to keep residents and property owners up to date on issues that impact everyone in the rental market. We sympathize with tenants having financial issues, especially in the current inflationary climate. But we also recognize that housing providers are investors. Livable helps protect the health of those investments while educating residents on conservation, which saves everyone money and helps the planet.” - Livable CEO Daniel Sharabi
The White House recently proposed a comprehensive plan to address the affordable housing crisis in the country. The proposal, which focuses on rental rights, aims to ensure that renters are treated fairly and that the rental market works in the best interests of everyone involved. The proposal has faced significant pushback from the industry, as some believe it would impede the development of new housing and further damage the market, driving up rental prices and limiting access. But the White House remains committed to the proposal and believes that it will help to create a fairer and more just rental market.
Information Sharing and Tenant Screening Practices
One of the key components of the proposal is the examination of information sharing and tenant screening practices in the rental market. The proposal calls for increased transparency in the tenant screening process and aims to ensure that tenants are only evicted for good cause. The plan also calls for the creation of a database of evictions, which would allow tenants to challenge evictions that are not based on good cause. Of course, “good cause” can vary from city to city and state to state, so what may be good cause in one area may not be in another.
Tenants often face evictions without knowing the reason and housing providers aren't always required to provide one. Many residents don't have access to the information they need to challenge an eviction if it's not "good cause." The proposed database of evictions would provide tenants with the information they need to challenge evictions, both at the time of the eviction and when looking for new housing.
One of the key focuses of the proposed regulations is the examination of information sharing and tenant screening practices in the rental industry. The plan proposes to improve the accuracy of tenant screening reports by requiring landlords to provide prospective tenants with a copy of the report the landlord received from the screening, as well as an explanation of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This would give tenants the opportunity to challenge any inaccurate information that may be affecting their ability to secure housing and would help to ensure that tenant screening reports are more accurate and fair.
The plan also aims to improve information sharing between landlords. Under the proposed regulations, landlords would be required to share information about tenants who have violated the terms of their lease or caused damage to their rental units. This would help landlords make more informed decisions about who to rent to and would help to reduce the number of incidents of property damage and lease violations.
In addition to these changes, the proposal includes several other important changes to the rental market. Those include stronger protections against eviction in the first place, expanded access to legal counsel for lower-income tenants, and increased penalties for landlords who violate housing codes.
Rent Control: A Controversial Aspect of the Proposal
One of the most controversial aspects of the White House proposal is the examination of rent control policies. Rent control policies, which limit the amount that landlords can charge for rent, including annual rate increases, have been the subject of much debate in recent years. Proponents argue that rent control is necessary to protect tenants from skyrocketing rents and to ensure that everyone has access to affordable housing. Critics, on the other hand, argue that rent control policies limit the supply of rental units and reduce the incentive for landlords to maintain their properties, which ultimately hurts tenants.
While rent control policies have been controversial, they are an important part of the conversation about the future of the rental market. The White House proposal aims to address this controversy by examining the effects of rent control policies on the rental market and by exploring alternative solutions to the affordable housing crisis. The plan first calls for a comprehensive study of the effects of rent control policies on the rental market, including an examination of the impact on housing supply, the behavior of landlords and the welfare of tenants. This information will be used to inform future policy decisions and to determine the best way to address the affordable housing crisis.
Whether the study will result in the adoption of new rent control policies remains to be seen, especially with some areas banning them statewide, but it is clear that the White House is taking the affordable housing crisis seriously and exploring a variety of solutions to the problem.
Regardless of the outcome, any White House proposal on rental rights is likely to affect the rental market for tenants and landlords alike. Whether that’s for better or worse remains to be seen. The focus on information sharing and tenant screening practices, as well as the examination of rent control policies, may help ensure that renters are treated fairly and that the rental market works in the best interests of everyone involved. It may also inhibit the housing supply, creating an unintended backlash of higher housing costs.
Sharabi says housing providers who are considering shifting away from master-billed utilities need to pay special attention to the language of any rent control initiatives in their areas. “In Pasadena, California, residents voted for a rent control measure that also limits the ability of housing providers to recover rising utility costs from residents,” he explains. “Housing providers who were already enrolled in RUBS or another utility recovery program may be grandfathered in, but those who want to enroll now are subject to the same limits as if they raised rents directly. It’s more important than ever to take action now to get started with RUBS. Set up a call today!”