The Renters Bill Of Rights

Mark Levine
March 23, 2024

According to the Domestic Policy Council (DPC), "Over 44 million households, or roughly 35 percent of the U.S. population, live in rental housing."

Inputs that matter: As home prices escalate beyond what many can afford, the number of renters in the U.S. will increase.

  • DPC reported that almost one-quarter of renters spend 50% of their income on rent.
  • The depleted housing supply is creating more competition for fewer available units.

The opportunity: U.S. News reports that The "Blueprint for a Renter's Bill of Rights" is not law but serves to open up opportunities for action at all levels of government with five rights:

  • Everyone should have access to housing that is safe and affordable.
  • Lease agreements must be fair and easy to understand.
  • The Education of renters' rights is the responsibility of state and local governments.
  • Renters should have the right to organize a tenant association.
  • Renters need access to resources designed to avoid eviction.

Zoom in: The expectation is that policymakers will take action based on the white paper.

  • The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports, "Homelessness rose by a modest 0.3 percent from 2020 to 2022, a period marked by both pandemic-related economic disruptions and robust investments of federal resources into human services."
  • During this time, the burden was placed on private businesses to house people and utility companies to maintain services regardless of payment.
  • The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness reports that only 37 affordable homes are available for every 100 extremely low-income renters.

Between the lines: Based on Zillow data, home prices in the U.S. are up 3.6% from last year.

  • According to Zillow, to qualify for a mortgage on the average home price of $350,000, a person must make a minimum of $100,000 per year.
  • The Pew Research Center explains, "Renters skew to the lower ends of income and wealth distributions, according to data from the Federal Reserve's 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances."
  • CNBC reports, "In 2019, homeowners in the U.S. had a median net worth of $255,000, while renters had a net worth of just $6,300."

Follow the money: Fannie Mae's latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) found that 81 percent of respondents believe it's a bad time to buy a home.

  • Bankrate describes, "Despite the slight uptick, inflation is now substantially lower than its high point of 9.1 percent in the summer of 2022."
  • However, Business Insider reports, "Home prices have risen at 2.4 times the pace of inflation since the 1960s."

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