Academics submitted a comment to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), calling for robust tenant protections that reflect the realities of both the climate crisis and housing decarbonization in the United States.
August 3, 2023 – Over 70 academics urged the Federal Housing Finance Agency to enact rent regulations and climate-responsive tenant protections on corporate landlords. The FHFA oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government sponsored entities that help corporate landlords get bank loans. Currently, corporate landlords receive this federal financing with no protections for tenants or climate-responsive housing regulations.
Corporations have both exacerbated the climate and housing crises– putting families in increasingly precarious living situations in the name of profit. The climate crisis makes homes uninhabitable with increasing risks of storms or rising sea levels. Historic and current racist real estate practices like redlining have forced Black, brown, and lower-income families into more climate change prone areas. They also live in some of the most disinvested housing– homes that now desperately need investments to better weather new realities like high heat days.
The Biden Administration just passed one of the biggest climate bills in the country’s history. It included billions of dollars to decarbonize and electrify housing across the country, however renters were summarily left out of the legislation. Without strong tenant protections imposed by the FHFA to complement the recent climate bill, these decarbonization investments could be used as an excuse to hike rents beyond what is fair and reasonable for tenants– potentially displacing millions of families across the United States.
The signers of the letter call to:
Set universal rent regulations that protect tenants from and limit egregious rent hikes.
Condition federally backed mortgages on good cause eviction.
Ensure tenants have a right to renew their leases.
Establish habitability standards that mandate landlords to keep their properties in safe and accessible condition, especially in the era of the climate crisis.
The climate crisis will forever change the housing landscape. By imposing strong tenant protections and rent regulations, the FHFA can help ensure that climate-resilient, decarbonized housing is also safe, affordable, and accessible housing.
Read the Letter: https://www.climateandcommunity.org/fhfa-rental-protections
The Climate and Community Project (CCP) is a progressive climate policy think tank developing cutting-edge research at the climate and inequality nexus. CCP organized this sign on letter as part of the Homes Guarantee campaign.