CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research

New 'Right to Rent' Bill Will Help Millions of American Families Stay in their Homes and Stabilize Communities

April 16, 2010

For Immediate Release:April 16, 2010
Contact: Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380  x115

Washington, D.C. - “Right to Rent” is one of the most efficient and simple ways to help millions of families facing foreclosure remain in their homes, said national housing experts across the political spectrum in Congressional testimony earlier this week. The following day, a new “Right to Rent” bill was introduced in the House of Representatives.

The Right to Rent concept was originated by Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. It would increase the bargaining power and security of homeowners by temporarily changing the rules on foreclosure and allowing homeowners to remain in their homes as renters for a substantial period or time. During this time, homeowners would pay the market rent for the home as determined by an independent assessment.

“Right to Rent immediately gives the homeowner security in their home. They will be allowed to stay there for a substantial period of time, allowing their children to stay in their schools and families to prepare for and plan their future moves,” said Baker in his testimony on Wednesday. “Right to Rent also would make foreclosure much less attractive to investors. This gives investors more incentive to modify loans on their own, without the involvement of the government.”

The following day, “The Right to Rent Act of 2010” was introduced by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), which would allow homeowners whose homes have been foreclosed to stay in their homes at a fair market rent for up to five years. “The latest statistics on foreclosures and mortgage delinquency rates are an indication of the profound, historic crisis we face and the need for creative solutions like Right to Rent,” said Rep. Grijalva.

In addition to progressive economists such as Baker and newspapers such as the New York Times, Right to Rent is endorsed by conservative economists such as Arnold Kling and Andrew Samwick. Kling, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, added his voice in support “Right to Rent” during the question period of Wednesday's Congressional hearing.