White House Seeks Renters’ Bill of Rights, Property Management Best Practices

The White House is leading an initiative on resident-centered property management solutions and is soliciting best practices. In addition, President Biden, in the past, has expressed support to expand protections for renters through a “Bill of Rights.”

At various points in 2022, the Biden administration convened tenant stakeholder listening sessions and other meetings with officials to seek input on these issues. Ultimately, these initiatives can act as a guide for policy makers and the Biden administration can implement actions across the federal government that advance these best practices and protections.

The backdrop: The White House is seeking to shine a light on the fact that tenants have very few federally enforced rights and tenants’ rights vary considerably across state and local governments. In November 2022, Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, and American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling convened a meeting with officials from across the Biden-Harris administration and more than 70 tenant leaders and advocates, housing providers, legal advocates, and housing policy experts to discuss the administration’s efforts to strengthen tenant protections and improve rental affordability.

Participants discussed several key topics related to tenant protections and rental affordability, including the right of tenants to safe, decent, and affordable housing. The participants also discussed the need for clear and fair leases, the importance of tenants being able to live free from retaliation or interference from landlords, and tenants’ right to organize without fear. Building off lessons learned during the pandemic, participants also discussed ways to institutionalize best practices such as eviction diversion and ways to ensure due process rights and fair proceedings.

What’s next: Currently, the White House is soliciting responses to its Resident-Centered Property Management Practices Pre-Challenge. Selected responses will be featured in a White House press release in mid- to late-January launching the full challenge. Responses are due by 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 9.

Both the pre-challenge and challenge are soliciting commitments and/or actions organizations are taking within the following areas:

  • Developing a bill of rights, code of ethics, or membership standards that align with basic tenets of resident-centered housing provisions;
  • Adopting higher standards that are required by law in one locality and applying them to rental housing operated by the same provider in other localities;
  • Creating new benefits and/or services for residents that enhance their economic mobility, build credit, and/or prepare them for homeownership;
  • Expanding pathways to eviction mitigation and prevention; and
  • Enhancing and increasing communication between tenants, residents, and housing providers and other types of resident-centered housing communication practices.