THE WHITE HOUSE RENTAL PLAN: WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR CRE? February 1, 2023 | CRE News , Investment , Management | commercial real estate tenants , multi-family property , real estate trends , business tips On January 25, the Biden-Harris administration released a statement outlining their new plan to promote a more “renter-friendly” multifamily environment. Echoing notions from the “Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights,” this statement outlines different action strategies that combat recent “egregious rent increases” which they say have been more common within the industry. The pandemic has left its impact on many industries, and the rental sphere is no different. With new federal influence entering into the multifamily real estate industry, some investors may worry that this interference could destabilize a normally steady sector of CRE. To begin demystifying the results of these recent initiatives, let’s discuss the details of the White House’s new plan. The New Federal Oversight The primary and immediate result of this announcement is the new tasks assigned to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Both agencies will begin to collect information, tracking things like methods used for tenant background checks, influence of a tenant’s source of income, and results of algorithmic tenant screenings. These efforts are intended, in part, to cut down on unfair and unequal treatment, viewed to have grown in recent years. Many are criticizing these moves as only reinforcing laws covered by existing federal or state entities, and there seems to be fear of adverse results due to the potential of “bureaucratization” of the current renting system. Whether these moves for new systems will be able to protect renters (as intended) or not remains to be seen, but there is a clear connection between these moves and the philosophy that inspired them. Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights The underlying laws that have inspired this recent statement are built from what has been dubbed the “Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights.” The key pillars of this initiative are as follows: Safe, Quality, Accessible, and Affordable Housing No family should pay more than 30% of their income on housing, housing should meet safety standards, and the application process should be reasonably simple. Clear and Fair Leases Leases should not include hidden fees or language that is too difficult for navigation within the general public. Education, Enforcement, and Enhancement of Renter Rights Federal, state, and local governments are tasked with the responsibility to inform renters of their rights and to defend them from discriminatory practices. The Right to Organize Renters should not be penalized for joining a tenant-focused organization, and their voices should be heard. In addition, the spirit of this pillar is to facilitate further discussion between renters and multifamily building management. Eviction Prevention, Diversion, and Relief Renters should be properly equipped with options to avoid losing access to their housing. Overall, the eviction process should be fair, with reasonable and clear guidelines understood by all parties. Multifamily units may struggle as a result of these changes, or empowered tenants may lead to reduced vacancies and a healthier industry. CRE investors should keep a close eye on the extent of these actions and any subsequent moves likely to follow. The best way to ensure safe and happy tenants is to have confidence in the condition of your property. Schedule your next commercial property inspection with National Property Inspections - our nation-spanning network of experts is happy to assist!