White House directs FTC, CFPB to probe housing rental market practices

Landlords will face greater federal scrutiny from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Trade Commission and other agencies amid rapidly rising rents under a plan that President Joe Biden released Wednesday.

The plan, described as a blueprint, along with actions by federal agencies, are meant to “advance a stronger, more equitable renter market,” the White House said. “Renters should have access to housing that is safe, decent and affordable and should pay no more than 30 percent of household income on housing costs.”

Progressive Democrats in Congress, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., praised the plan directing the CFPB, FTC, Housing and Urban Development Department, government-backed enterprises and other agencies to enhance renter protections and crack down on unfair practices.

“For too long, corporations have had free rein to raise rents unchecked, price gouging families and raking in record profits,” Warren and Bowman said in a joint statement. “And for too many families, skyrocketing rental costs keep safe and affordable housing out of reach. We need real action now, and we owe it to families to pursue all options on the table to address the housing crisis and lower the cost of rent.”

The two lawmakers urged the president in a letter this month to take action to rein in rising rents. According to the White House, rents increased 26 percent during the pandemic.

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