Freddie Mac Multifamily Analyzes Statewide Tenant Protections

Freddie Mac Multifamily, McLean, Va., released a comparative analysis of tenant protections provided by state landlord tenant acts.

The research examines 18 different tenant protection topics and provides examples of the approaches different states have taken to govern the relationship between property owners and tenants.

The analysis follows the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement in January of actions it will take to enhance tenant protections and further principles of fair housing. That announcement included new actions by several federal agencies, a White House Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights and a voluntary challenge to the industry to adopt stronger policies and practices that better serve tenants.

MBA is monitoring developments on this issue and will share all relevant updates with members. Contact MBA Associate Vice President of Commercial/Multifamily Policy Stephanie Milner for more information.

Corey Aber, Vice President of Multifamily Mission, Policy & Strategy for Freddie Mac, said the research can serve as a resource for the public and industry stakeholders who seek a better understanding of the state laws that govern the landlord-renter relationship. “Our research shows that each state has sought to address tenant protections in its own way,” he said. “This work provides a strong foundation for efforts to better understand the complex legal landscape that governs the renting experience.”

The report divides its analysis of the 18 tenant protections topics into five categories: tenant screening; rent, late payments and security deposits; habitability and retaliation; pre-eviction protections including notice and opportunity to cure lease violations; and eviction fees, right to counsel and eviction diversion programs.

The researchers highlighted several trends and several outliers in how states address tenant protections, including:

•             Seven states have laws prohibiting a landlord’s use of certain information, such as a tenant’s criminal history, when screening tenants.

•             Three states have state-wide limits on rent increases.

•             Forty-four states require landlords to give tenants notice of rent payment defaults before the landlord can begin the eviction process.

•             Forty-four states have laws that prohibit eviction or other forms of retaliation by a landlord in response to a tenant’s exercise of their legal rights.

•             Three states grant certain tenants a right to counsel in an eviction proceeding.

The report includes a spreadsheet of tenant protections in place across all 50 states, Guam and the District of Columbia.