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First step towards national rent control? Biden admin to mandate “fairness”

Inflation is eating citizens alive in these United States; nowhere are those numbers more obvious or egregiously out of whack than in the housing and rental industries. If you owned your home already, you’re in the catbird’s seat. If you just bought one, or are trying to in an unbelievably tight market, you know what I’m talking about. Also, if you just bought one, but overpaid because of the tight market, and are watching values start to drop because of interest rates climbing, you’re not really happy.

If you’ve been renting, especially a single-family house vice an apartment, you’ve been on pins and needles the entire time, not knowing if it would be sold out from under you if the owner decides to cash in on good times, vice continues to deal with tenants. Almost every aspect has been fraught with anxiety for all concerned.

A good portion of this is attributable to measures taken (with questionable authority) by the Centers for Disease Control. In an unprecedented order on 1 September 2020, the CDC brought an immediate – and “temporary” – halt in residential evictions to “prevent the further spread of COVID-19.” Congress and then the Biden administration extended that order through various incarnations for another year, claiming a surge in Delta variant infections justified it.

What it did was wreak havoc on the rental market. Evictions that had nothing to do with COVID losses could not happen, rents were not collected for years in some cases, landlords who still had to pay mortgages and insurance costs shortly had no income with which to do so, and had no way to find relief thanks to the government forbidding it.

To a large extent, the government interference, whatever the motives, was responsible for destroying natural turnover in rental units and accelerated the exit of landlords and available rental properties from the market. With cash offers for many of these homes, smaller landlords were happy to jettison the hassle of tenants for a quick, profitable sale of their property, reducing the available rental properties as they did so.

What happens when a commodity becomes scarce? Prices increase. Landlords could be pickier. Tenants looking to renew leases had to deal with exorbitant rent increases or try to find new, less expensive rental homes in a constricted market.

It started a vicious cycle that we’re still seeing play out locally here. Probably where you are as well.

There is nothing the government – especially one as invested in fairness, equity, and pandering to constituency groups as Biden and Co. – can’t screw up better the second whack they take at it. True to form, they announced the Rental Cluster Redux: FAIRNESS Edition today.

Under pressure to address the nation’s soaring housing costs, the Biden administration on Wednesday announced significant new actions to protect tenants and make renting more affordable.

The announcement involves multiple federal agencies that will gather information on unfair housing practices. It also includes a “Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights” that, while not binding, sets clear guidelines to help renters stay in affordable housing. The White House is also launching a call to action, dubbed the “Resident-Centered Housing Challenge,” that aims to get housing providers as well as state and local governments to strengthen policies in their own markets.

After months of deliberation, the moves come as the housing market continues to pose a serious problem for people who don’t own their homes — and for the economy overall. While inflation has fallen for the past six months, average rental prices have continued to increase rapidly, disproportionately hurting vulnerable households that spend the bulk of their budgets on rent. Meanwhile, the country is stuck in a massive housing shortfall, complicating efforts to lower costs or simply find enough places for the 44 million American renter households to go.

Gosh, a housing shortfall. Ya think that might have something to do with it?

…A coalition of tenant unions, community organizations and legal groups have called for an all-out approach, drafting an executive order for the Biden administration, urging for a state of emergency on housing and exploring ways to regulate rents. Those proposals spanned multiple government agencies and were intended to push federal regulators to consider new ways to curb rental costs.

But White House advisers and administration officials deemed many of the ideas impractical, and some questioned the legality of such forceful action. Officials said the president, for example, does not have the authority to regulate rent nationwide

No warm fuzzies in that last sentence, as “lacking authority” has never impeded Biden’s leaping into the authoritarian at any point in his reign over the peasants so far. The groups involved in this scheme have pulled the “declare a state of emergency” card into the conversation. That would be his modus operandi, and, no doubt, why we are still operating under continually renewed pandemic restrictions, even as he told CBS it was over. It’s the power inherent in the emergency. Why would he ever give that up? He blithely decrees, sets the edicts in motion and then leaves it to the states and interested parties who still remember what a Constitution is to fend him off.

Takes time, and serves both his purposes and his ego.

Also, please note – there’s nothing about independent landlord protections. Who is going to want to rent their home to anyone and face not getting paid with the government’s stamp of approval? Here people were, hoping for rents to start easing off some and housing to open back up. ‘Tis to laugh.

The government’s going to sanction both non-payment of rent and pay for the scofflaw’s lawyers? As the landlord is also a taxpayer, you could look at it that he’s getting shafted twice in this deal.

Well, hello. There’s another house sold to Blackrock for cash.

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