Right to Rent: Let's Get It Done

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Written by Nicole Woo   
Thursday, 03 February 2011 19:49

Kudos to the Huffington Post for a devastating, in depth piece about underwater homeowners: Learning To Walk: Fear, Shame And Your Underwater Mortgage.

In it, HuffPo follows up with almost 50 underwater homeowners whom they first contacted a year ago about their predicaments.  They detail their struggles (and failures) to get mortgage modifications and short sales approved, and how they came to different decisions about staying in or walking away from (a.k.a. strategically defaulting on) their homes, reflecting their varied life situations.

Almost all would've been helped if they had the Right to Rent.  Some would've been able to stay in their homes, while paying a lower monthly rent than their mortgage payments, and getting out from underwater.  Others may have had more leverage with their banks if they had the option of Right to Rent, even if they didn't choose to exercise that option in the end.

Economist James Galbraith has lately thrown his support behind Right to Rent, stating:

A Home Owners Loan Corporation as in the New Deal, and effective foreclosure relief, partly through a right-to-rent law, would move the housing crisis toward resolution.

Let's get it done.

The Right to Rent Plan was originally conceived by CEPR's Dean Baker.  Endorsements of the concept have popped up in the mainstream media, on blogs, and on Capitol Hill -- for details, including how much homeowners in many areas could save by renting, see CEPR's Right to Rent issue page.