Property Management and the Renter’s Bill of Rights
The White House Blueprint for a Renter’s Bill of Rights is a white paper promoting housing security, stability, and fairness for American renters.
It addresses pressing rental housing problems and proposes measures for remedying them.
Let’s clarify: the Renter’s Bill of Rights isn’t legislation. This is a white paper recommending ways to improve the nation’s rental housing situation.
Its publication created no new laws, regulations, statutes, or legal rights. It also doesn’t override any existing legislation but is likely to influence and inform upcoming laws.
So, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the Renter’s Bill of Rights and develop ways to meet its standards.
Here’s a breakdown of this policy document and a few suggestions on how property managers can prepare for it.
What Is the ‘Blueprint for a Renter’s Bill of Rights’?
The White House Blueprint for a Renter’s Bill of Rights is a non-binding statement of principles intended to protect renters by supporting the development of fair rental housing standards and policies. It outlines five principles, delves into related issues, and recommends ways to mobilize its guidance.
Here are its five principles:
- Access to safe, quality, accessible, and affordable housing
- Clear and fair leases
- Education, enforcement, and enhancement of rights
- The right to organize
- Eviction prevention, diversion, and relief
Safe, quality, accessible, and affordable housing
The first principle states that American renters should have access to safe, quality, accessible, and affordable housing.
Safe and decent housing is habitable, free from hazards, and well-maintained. Quality housing meets the services and amenities advertised or specified in the lease. Accessible housing is easy to apply for.
Clear and fair leases
Clear and fair leases define their rental terms, rights, and responsibilities in simple, clear, and accessible language and include a plain language briefing summing up the terms.
These leases don’t include mandatory arbitration clauses, unauthorized terms, hidden or illegal fees, false representations, or other unfair or deceptive practices.
They do include a transparent security deposit policy, with deposits being appropriate in size and held in an interest-bearing account for the duration of the lease.
Fair leases should also provide reasonable advance notice of actions related to the unit, including notice of entry for inspection by the housing provider and significant changes to the unit.
Education, enforcement, and enhancement of renter rights
The Renter’s Bill of Rights tasks federal, state, and local governments to ensure that renters know their rights and protect renters from unlawful discrimination and exclusion.
Housing providers must ensure that background checks are legal, fair, and non-discriminatory and that renters can access housing and neighborhood choices.
To avoid unintentional discrimination and wrongful exclusion, housing providers are also legally required to inform applicants for rental housing why they were denied or charged more.
Right to organize
Renters should be able to organize and advocate for themselves without facing obstruction from property management companies and without the risk of losing their housing.
Renters also need to know who the property owners and managers are, along with how to contact them.
The aim of this is to encourage property management companies and renters to engage in conversations regarding the property and support healthy and productive relationships between them.
Eviction prevention, diversion, and relief
Renters must have access to eviction prevention and management resources. This includes means to avoid an eviction filing, resources for managing evictions to ensure all legal processes and proceedings are fair, and ways to prevent future housing instability due to prior evictions.
Eviction prevention options may include:
- Late rent grace periods
- Paying back rent
- Violation correction
- Dispute resolution processes
- Pre-eviction diversion programs
Residents who owe rental debt can expect it to be collected through fair and ethical practices.
How the Renter’s Bill of Rights impacts renters and property managers
We’ve identified a few significant areas of the Renter’s Bill of Rights that create operational changes for many of our property management partners. . Those are lease terms, application ease, background screening protocols, renter communication practices, and the financial management of security deposits, rent payments, evictions, and renter debt. If this document influences shifts in state laws in the future, property managers may have to worry about constantly updating their policy and procedures.
This is where Qira comes in–Qira is the ultimate partner for property managers. By tailoring products and services specifically to their needs, Qira takes the burden off of property management companies. Which helps when laws and expectations in the industry are constantly changing across the country.
Clear and Fair Leases
The aim of the bill is to make it easier for Americans to get into rental housing. It asks that renters are given clear and fair leases that are transparent, upfront, and easy to understand.
Clear and fair leases only include clauses, provisions, and terms that are legal, authorized, enforceable, and fair. These leases also detail a renter’s rights, responsibilities, and available means of recourse.
Property managers can inadvertently do this when using standard online lease agreement forms. So remember to have a real estate lawyer create fair and transparent lease agreements that meet your state’s laws.
Qira makes much of the leasing process transparent for renters, from viewing upcoming payments to seamlessly connecting residents to their leasing team. Making transparency and communication between renter and management companies easier than ever.
Affordable Moving Costs
Housing can become unaffordable to some due to application fees and security deposits. Many renters can’t afford to part with a large, upfront lump sum. Large security deposits are a deterrent for many potential renters, losing property managers potential residents.
Qira’s security deposit alternatives allow property managers to eliminate traditional security deposits without assuming any financial risk. These services enable renters to skip a lump sum security deposit in exchange for paying a low, percentage-based monthly fee.
Qira then assumes all the financial risks and handles deposit management. Property managers can also benefit from Qira’s security deposit management services without offering the monthly fee alternative.
Renter Background Screening
The bill advocates for fair and reasonable screening practices by giving renters the right to know why they may have been denied housing or charged more for housing.
Qira’s background screening service can help out with this through rental background and soft credit checks on potential renters. This complimentary opt-in service lets property managers find qualified renters while avoiding unintentional exclusion and discrimination.
Residents must be given advanced notification for repairs, maintenance, unit entries, and other activities, such as a non-renewal of lease. This helps residents feel more secure in their rental housing. It also ensures that renters will have sufficient time to find new housing if their lease isn’t renewed.
Professional property managers already meet these standards, but it can be helpful to facilitate communication through an app like Qira.
Qira offers a convenient way to communicate and be open to engagement. Qira’s mobile-friendly platform allows both parties to communicate with each other and remain informed on upcoming leasing information.
Rental Housing Stability
The Renter’s Bill of Rights outlines specific property management practices that can promote housing stability and security for American renters.
It asks property managers to avoid hidden fees, keep rental increases fair and transparent, offer alternative dispute resolution options, and responsibly collect debt.
The bill gives renters more ways to avoid, delay and manage evictions and asks property management to consider eviction and court alternatives.
So, start looking for other ways to manage residents who are late on rent or presenting other issues. Excellent communication is a key part of this. Remember to be proactive and notify renters of what’s owed in rent, due fees, upcoming charges, and any rental increases. Maintain a clear record of active communication and a consistent track record of offering help or alternative means of resolution.
Qira’s services support rental stability. The platform makes rent collection and payment more transparent and flexible. Residents can see their upcoming charges and payment histories. And they can use Qira to set up automatic payments or make one-time payments.
Qira also gives property managers the opportunity to allow residents to defer a rent payment in exchange for a low percentage-based fee. This eviction prevention service allows residents to avoid late fees and delinquencies while letting property managers retain their 100% collection rate. If residents do default, Qira has a free and optional collections service available to our partners.
Statistically, third-party services like Qira have a higher collections rate as they are dedicated to collecting outstanding balances. Utilizing Qira’s collections service results in bottom-line revenue and frees onsite teams from tedious collections duties.
Stay Ahead of the Renter’s Bill of Rights with Qira
The Renter’s Bill of Rights isn’t legislation. These are non-binding principles that don’t constitute or override any policies, laws, statutes, or regulations. However, its recommendations will set the tone for upcoming policies and legislation across the United States.
Qira’s property management and renter financial service solutions can help you be ready. Qira supports transparent, clear, and fair property management.
Our platform lets property managers and renters communicate, share information and stay engaged. And we offer financial services that help renters remain financially secure and stable.
Ready to learn more? Book a demo to discover Qira for yourself!