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On January 25, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new actions to increase fairness in the rental market and further principles of fair housing. These actions align with a new Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights that the Administration also released the same day. The Blueprint lays out a set of principles to drive action by the federal government, state, and local partners, and the private sector to strengthen tenant protections and encourage rental affordability. Key actions announced today include:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), both independent agencies, announced they will collect information to identify practices that unfairly prevent applicants and tenants from accessing or staying in housing in order to inform enforcement and policy actions under each agency’s jurisdiction. This is the first time the FTC has issued a request for information exploring unfair practices in the rental market. The two agencies will seek information on a broad range of practices that affect the rental market, including the creation and use of tenant background checks, the use of algorithms in tenant screenings, the provision of adverse action notices by landlords and property management companies, and how an applicant’s source of income factors into housing decisions.
  • The CFPB announced it will issue guidance and coordinate enforcement efforts with the FTC to ensure accurate information in the credit reporting system and to hold background check companies accountable for having unreasonable procedures.
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), an independent agency, announced it will launch a new public process to examine proposed actions promoting renter protections and limits on egregious rent increases for future investments. FHFA will maintain transparency throughout the process and provide periodic updates, including one within 6 months, to interested stakeholders. As announced in November, the FHFA will also increase affordability in the multifamily rental market by establishing requirements that encourage the financing of multifamily loans that guarantee affordable housing. In 2022, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae purchased a combined $142 billion in multifamily loans supporting over one million units. If the same activity holds in 2023, this would mean an investment in approximately 700,000 affordable units.
  • A U.S. Department of Justice workshop will inform potential guidance updates around anti-competitive information sharing, including in rental markets.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require public housing authorities and owners of project-based rental assistance properties to provide at least 30 days’ advanced notice before terminating a lease due to nonpayment of rent.
  • The Administration will hold quarterly meetings with a broad, diverse, and varying group of tenants and tenant advocates to ensure they continue to have a seat at the table and can share ambitious ideas to strengthen tenant protections.

These new announcements are part of a broader set of federal actions that exemplify the principles laid out in the Blueprint for a Renter’s Bill of Rights, which underscores key protections every renter deserves:

  • Safe, Quality, Accessible, and Affordable Housing: Renters should have access to housing that is safe, decent, and affordable.
  • Clear and Fair Leases: Renters should have a clear and fair lease that has defined rental terms, rights, and responsibilities.
  • Education, Enforcement, and Enhancement of Renter Rights: Federal, state, and local governments should do all they can to ensure renters know their rights and to protect renters from unlawful discrimination and exclusion
  • The Right to Organize: Renters should have the freedom to organize without obstruction or harassment from their housing provider or property manager.
  • Eviction Prevention, Diversion, and Relief: Renters should be able to access resources that help them avoid eviction, ensure the legal process during an eviction proceeding is fair, and avoid future housing instability.

Download the administration’s Blueprint for a Renter’s Bill of Rights