Freddie Mac Releases Survey of Landlord Tenant Acts

What you need to know about the survey’s key findings.

By Emma Craig |

2 minute read

As part of their commitments to the White House Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights, Freddie Mac released its National Survey of Tenant Protections Under State Landlord Tenant Acts (the Survey) that detailed 18 different topics and trends in renter protections across states. The Survey details rights and responsibilities of housing providers and their residents, grouping policy considerations into focus areas that align with the Blueprint. The report marks changes in these laws over previous years, and further encouraged by the Blueprint, states are adopting greater renter protections in lieu of our shared end goal: increasing access to affordable rental housing. 

Key Findings

Currently, only two states (California and Oregon) and D.C. have state-wide limits on rent increases, while 20 states require property owners to give notice to residents prior to rent increases. However, there are differences between each state’s statutes; for example, Virginia requires notice of rent increases but has not set any minimum number of days to give notice before the increase takes effect. 

The report notes that 13% of states have laws prohibiting the use of certain information when screening prospective residents, such as criminal history. The strictness of these rules varies by state. For example, New Jersey stipulates that the severity and recency of the crime determine whether criminal records may be reviewed only after a conditional offer is extended. Moreover, in Colorado, property owners may not consider an arrest record from any time, or criminal convictions within the past five years when screening a prospective resident. While these laws have been gaining some traction, they are still uncommon with only seven states having adopted laws outlining any additional restrictions. 

The report displays the diversity of approaches to landlord tenant laws across the country specifying the relationship between owners/operators and residents. Both local and state jurisdictions across the country are considering adjustments to current landlord tenant laws. At the state level, the National Apartment Association (NAA) is currently tracking 56 bills that would amend their respective states’ landlord tenant acts. As governing bodies continue to use varying approaches, it’s important to keep these laws set at the state level, particularly as the federal government is exploring instituting nationwide requirements.

NAA continues to work with our affiliate partners to be the voice of the rental housing industry in legislative and regulatory discussions. We support sustainable and balanced housing policies that ensure effective property management and operations and increase access and availability of affordable housing. 

To learn more about this report, contact Emma Craig, NAA’s Legislative Analyst.