The White House and federal housing agencies recently hosted a listening session where NAR spoke on behalf of housing providers and the vital role they play in the rental market. The purpose of the listening session was to discuss priorities and gaps for tenant protections and owner needs, including specifically when it comes to challenges like the pandemic.
On the White House call, NAR stressed that among its 1.5 million members are thousands of "mom-and-pop" housing providers for whom ownership of one or more residential rental properties serves as a significant source of their income. NAR explained, for these housing providers, the right to collect rent on time and make reasonable rent increases to adjust for the changing market and additional costs is critical to providing a safe and healthy living environment for their tenants, not to mention their own businesses and livelihoods. For many, these properties serve as their only source of retirement savings or their children's college tuition, or help pay other long-term expenses.
Much of the discussion involved the past eviction moratoriums and the burdens placed on renters needing housing but also the housing providers' ability to maintain safe properties and sustain their own financial obligations. NAR emphasized how the ability to evict has long been limited by state and local regulations that prevent housing providers from unreasonable actions against renters and provide further protections for those renters within the judicial system. Housing providers understand these limitations upon entering the business, including the responsibilities they have to insure and maintain their properties and to protect their tenants when necessary from other renters whose actions qualify them for eviction. Tenants likewise recognize their rights and responsibilities under the law and within their lease contract.
The housing-provider groups all agreed that the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for renters with low- to moderately-low income, were unprecedented, which is why it is critical to ensure the federal Emergency Rental Assistance funding continues to be efficiently disbursed to tenants in need around the country. The group also discussed Federal housing programs and voucher programs, which help increase the number of affordable rental units and provide assistance to those who need it to pay their housing costs. NAR detailed the long support for additional funding of these programs and the lowering of barriers for housing providers to participate in them.
NAR emphasized the need to continue prioritizing homeownership and sustainability for housing providers. Other participants also agreed with NAR on how the current supply shortage makes matters worse for renters, where less housing availability results in less housing affordability. NAR will continue to engage with policy makers and industry on these important conversations. Stay tuned to nar.realtor for the latest updates on these discussions.