MOLINE, Ill. — The Biden administration has implemented new renter protections to support the newly formed blueprint for a renters bill of rights.
It’s a call to action by the government and other authorities to support renter rights and housing affordability.
More than 44 million households in the United States live in rental housing and the rent has increased by an average of 24% nationwide in 2022. This means that 35% of the country could have seen a $200-$300 increase in their rent.
“When COVID struck and evictions became a threat, they introduced the moratorium to help the eviction for a period,” said John Afoun, Moline Housing Authority CEO and president. “They felt that renters didn't have protection or enough rights. So they subsequently developed these in order to ensure that renters are protected."
The White House says these new actions will increase fairness in the rental market and establish the principles in the blueprint for a renters bill of rights.
The blueprint lays out the following principles for rent policy:
- Access to Safe, Quality, Accessible and Affordable Housing
- Clear and Fair Leases
- Education, Enforcement, and Enhancement of Rights
- The right to organize
- Eviction prevention, diversion and relief
In order to enact the blueprint, the White House has announced the following new actions:
- The federal government will collect information on practices they say prevents renters from accessing housing which subjects them to extreme rent increases.
- The Federal Trade Commission and the Financial Protection Bureau will monitor and identify unfair practices that keep renters from getting housing, like the use of background checks, algorithms to screen tenants and income stipulations.
- The Department of Defense will ensure military members receive housing from the Military Housing Office on or off the base.
- The Federal Housing Finance Agency will launch a new public process that limits what the White House calls, "egregious rent increases."
The White House says leases should be clear and rent deposits should be placed in an interest-collecting account.
“It would give them peace of mind as to what it would do for the renter, but the landlords it puts pressure on us to get those things in place,” said Afoun. “It increases administrative costs, those who do not have those measures in place need to consult an attorney to draft a lease and the supporting documents.”
Moving forward, renters will have 30 days to evacuate their homes if evicted instead of 14 days. New guidelines also stipulate that landlords should give a grace period to renters instead of implementing immediate late fees.
Some local agencies like the Moline Housing Authority have already had some of these practices in place.
“We have rules and regulations. However, the private sector or some landlords, as it were, the mom and pop landlords here do not provide enough protection for tenants,” says Afoun.
Afoun says these new guidelines will help landlords as well.
“There is a document that spells out the rights and obligations. It just makes it clear,” says Afoun. “So from that perspective, it could work to the advantage of the landlord as well, because everything would have been in black and white, and there'll be no gray areas."
The Biden administration says it will host quarterly meetings with a diverse group of tenants and tenant advocates to ensure they have a say in new ideas for tenant protections.
Watch more news, weather and sports on News 8's YouTube channel