Book of Renters Rights

February 2023 Policy Blog

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Kristen Cheriegate  |  ICAST Policy Analyst

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White House Unveils New and Updated Tenant Protections
On January 25, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new actions to increase fairness in the rental market and further principles of fair housing. The announcement includes, but is not limited to, the following items:

  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will gather information on unfair housing practices;
  • A “Blueprint for a Renter’s Bill of Rights” that, while not binding, sets clear guidelines to help renters stay in affordable housing;
  • A call to action dubbed the “Resident-Centered Housing Challenge” aims to get housing providers as well as state and local governments to strengthen policies in their markets;
    • This Challenge will occur during Spring 2023;
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring public housing authorities and owners of project-based rental assistance properties to provide at least 30 days advanced notice before terminating a lease due to nonpayment of rent.

DOE Issues RFI for its Home Energy Rebate Programs
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) via its Office of State and Community Energy Programs. This request intends to inform the DOE on best practices for the Home Energy Rebate programs to support durable market demand for installations that improve housing energy performance nationwide; responses to this RFI will be used to create program guidance that will assist states, territories, and Indian Tribes in designing, managing, and improving Home Energy Rebate programs. Responses are due by 8:00p EST on March 3, 2023.

2023 State Legislative Season Begins
States are already in full swing following the 2023 State Legislative season kick-off. Some States, in particular, have hit the ground running with new energy bills to keep an eye on. A few highlights from this month are as follows:

  • West Virginia: HB2593, the West Virginia Energy Efficiency Jobs Creation Act, authorizes the Public Service Commission to require each electric utility to develop and implement programs and services to encourage and promote energy efficiency improvements and conservation of energy by consumers, commercial and industrial users, and electric utilities.
  • New York, S02016, the New York Home Energy Affordable Transition Act align utility regulation with the state climate justice and emissions reduction targets.
  • Maryland, HB0079, the Whole-Home Repairs Act of 2023, establishes the Whole-Home Repairs Program, which provides grants to local administering agencies to ensure that owner-occupied and renter units are free from habitability concerns. It also improves coordination across home repair programs and aims to increase workforce retention. Finally, it establishes the Whole-Home Repairs Fund as a special, non-lapsing fund.
  • Vermont, SB005, the Affordable Heat Act, establishes the Clean Heat Standard and provides compliance rules for tradeable clean heat credits. Additionally, it embeds equity by requiring that obligated parties retire at least 16 percent of their annual requirement from low-income and 16 percent from moderate-income customers.

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