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Senator Warren Updates $500B Affordable Housing Plan

Senator Elizabeth Warren has pledged to create a Tenant Protection Bureau as part of her previously announced $500 billion affordable housing plan. According to Senator Warren, the Bureau will be modeled after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

“Before the financial crash, I came up with the idea for a consumer financial protection agency—a new federal agency dedicated to protecting American consumers. I fought for that agency, helped build it from scratch, and now the CFPB has returned nearly $12 billion directly to consumers scammed by financial institutions,” Warren said, according to The Hill.

Warren also notes that, as President, she would create a national public database of information about large corporate landlords, including information like corporate landlords’ median rent, the number and percentage of tenants they evicted, building code violations, the most recent standard lease agreement used, and the identity of any individuals with an ownership interest of 25% or more, either directly or indirectly, in large landlords’ corporations, LLCs, or similar legal entities.

Fellow Presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker unveiled a plan to address housing affordability challenges oin June. Sen. Booker reportedly modeled his plan for renters' credit on legislation he recently introduced.

CNN reported that while this plan "is similar to a plan by his 2020 rival Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who has centered her own housing policy on a subsidy for low-income renters," his plan goes further by introducing "sweeping changes to restrictive zoning laws, coupled with federal incentives to build more affordable housing."

As part of his plan, Booker also said that he would not only target predatory housing market practices and funding grants to combat homelessness, but also expand the right to counsel for tenants from low-income households who were fighting eviction.

"Making sure all Americans have the right to good housing is very personal to me," CNN reported Booker as saying. "I'm determined to tear down the barriers that stand in the way of every American being able to do for their families what my parents did for mine."

Warren’s announced plan comes alongside an increase in single-family rents. Single-family rents increased 3% year over year in August 2019, according to the October CoreLogic Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI).

Low-end rentals, with rents 75% or less of a region’s median rent, made up a large chunk of August’s growth, as rents on lower-priced rental homes increased 3.7% year over year and rents for higher-priced homes, defined as properties with rents more than 125% of the regional median rent, increased 2.7% year over year.

In an interview with DS News, CoreLogic Principal Economist Molly Boesel discussed how the increase in single-family rentals has impacted the housing market as a whole, and why many potential homeowners are turning to rentals.

“Some of the demand has come from households displaced by foreclosure and some has come from millennial households who are looking for a single-family home but are not ready to buy,” Boesel said. “Just as the market has a low supply of for-sale housing, some markets also have a low supply of for-rent housing, which has driven rents up.”

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing. He is a contributing writer for MReport. An East Texas Native, he has studied abroad in Athens, Greece and works part-time as a photographer.
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