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Press Release | January 23, 2023

The White House Must Heed Tenants, Not Corporate Profiteers, To Enact New Tenant Protection Measures

Housing
The White House Must Heed Tenants, Not Corporate Profiteers, To Enact New Tenant Protection Measures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Andrea Beaty, beaty@therevolvingdoorproject.org

In response to reports that the real estate industry is mounting a “preemptive counter-push” to the White House’s rollout of new measures to strengthen tenant protections and improve rental affordability, Revolving Door Project Research Director Andrea Beaty released the following statement: 

“Now more than ever, tenants urgently need the President to take executive action to crack down on rent gouging and evictions. Private-equity backed multistate landlords continue to measure their success by how much money they make, but all that tenants want from the Biden administration is to ensure that everyone has a place to call home. Which of these desires sounds more like what a Democrat trying to restore faith in government should heed?” 

“The White House should adopt the measures put forth by the tenant-led Homes Guarantee Campaign to extend good-cause eviction protections to major federal housing programs, investigate corporate landlords’ anti-competitive practices, and impose rent increase caps for all rental properties receiving federal support. These are just some of the actions the White House can take to respond to the rental housing crisis.” 

Rising shelter costs today account for the lion’s share of the total increase in inflation, with rents in November experiencing their largest annual jump in over 40 years. Rents remain significantly higher than they were before the pandemic, with the median renter paying $205 more per month for a one bedroom apartment than they did in February 2020. 

Over 80 advocacy groups and 50 Democratic lawmakers — including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Jamaal Bowman — have also called on the White House to pursue all possible strategies to “end corporate price gouging in the real estate sector[.]” 

Revolving Door Project Researcher Vishal Shankar issued the following statement:

“The White House should not succumb to the real estate industry’s cynical lobbying efforts to block new federal tenant protections. These same developers and corporate landlords fueled the rental housing crisis in the first place by spiking rents and exploiting families, and now they are looking to defend their ill-gotten gains.”

“The industry is going to do everything it can to appear like a neutral, good-faith actor, but reporters and regulators shouldn’t be fooled: these people make their money by preying on tenants. Landlords cannot be allowed to get away with pushing to the media the false idea that the ‘free market’ is setting housing prices. For example, while arguing that an unfettered free market can serve renters better than federal tenant protections, real estate software firm RealPage recently told Politico that ‘[t]he balance of power really has shifted toward renters — they’re going to have more options, more competitive pricing and better deals.’ Missing from RealPage’s statement was any mention of the company’s direct role helping a nationwide cartel of corporate landlords reduce competition and push the highest possible rents upon tenants across the country through its Yieldstar software. RealPage’s expertise is in preventing competition and rigging the balance of power in favor of corporate landlords, not tenants. They shouldn’t be treated like just another voice in a debate — they and other national real estate firms exist to prey on ‘the other side’ in this conversation.”

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Image: “White House South Facade”, Matt H Wade Photography

Housing

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