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Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Advance Renters’ Rights

USDA Press
Release Date

Actions Fulfill Commitments Made in President Biden’s Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2023 – The Biden-Harris Administration today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is advising landlords to inform people applying for and living in USDA-financed rental properties of their legal rights and protections. 

Today’s announcement is part of a series of actions to fulfill commitments made in President Biden’s Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights that will increase fair housing practices and affordable rent prices for people across the nation.

“Ensuring people living in rural and Tribal communities have safe and affordable places they are proud to call home is a core part of USDA’s mission,” USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Farah Ahmad said. “That’s why we are committed to advancing the Administration’s actions to protect and educate renters and strengthen protections for people seeking affordable housing across rural America.”

The Department is advising owners of USDA-financed rental properties to post a memorandum in common areas easily visible to all residents and visitors. It outlines legal requirements for property owners and/or landlords to: 

•    Promptly notify applicants in writing if their applications for rental housing are not accepted.
•    Provide applicants copies of consumer screening reports that were used to determine if applications are not accepted. 
•    Disclose with applicants who are seeking rental housing the name, address, and phone number of the tenant screening company included in screening reports.

Today, USDA joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Trade Commission and Federal Housing Finance Agency, to distribute guidance to landlords, operators, and stakeholders on their responsibilities to alert rental applicants about information that is collected in tenant screening reports.

USDA plans to host a listening session in Fall 2023 for rural tenants to discuss ways to advance renter protections.   

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov