Renters Bill of Rights State and Local Update

NAA is monitoring these state and local policies across the country. Here’s what you need to know.

By Joe Riter |

February 22, 2023 |

Updated February 22, 2023

4 minute read

As state legislatures and local governments got to work on 2023 initiatives, housing concerns returned to the forefront of policy conversations around the country. Advocates and progressive lawmakers continue to push renters bill of rights proposals to solve, in their perspective, a power imbalance between housing providers and their residents. Elements typically include:

  • The right to safe and accessible housing; 
  • Freedom from discrimination and retaliation; 
  • The right to fair compensation and restorative justice; and 
  • The right to organize a tenant’s union and collectively bargain rents.

Other provisions commonly included in renters bill of rights laws (i.e. limitations on rent increases and requiring housing providers to disclose certain property-related data) interfere with property owners’ ability to effectively manage their rental communities and mitigate their risk.

What We’re Seeing:

State: 

  • Georgia HB 404: Safe at Home Act - Requires provision of rentals that are “fit for human habitation, establishes a three-day grace period after missing a rent payment before an eviction proceeding can be filed, bars rental property owners from cutting off air-conditioning prior to disposition of an eviction action and caps security deposits at not more than three times the monthly rent.”

  • Connecticut HB 6666: An Act Expanding Renters' Rights - Lowers security deposits from two months’ rent to one and creates additional requirements for their handling but does not establish a broad-based renters bill of rights. 

  • West Virginia HB 2081: An Act Creating a Renter's Bill of Rights and Tenant Protection Act - Addresses rental property price gouging with rent control legislation that does not rise to the level of a comprehensive renters bill of rights. 

Local:

  • Orange County, Florida - Orange County has adopted renters bill of rights legislation that provides, among other rights, rent control above 5% and a right to a 60-day notice of lease termination.  

  • City of Los Angeles - The City of Los Angeles passed a renters bill of rights ordinance to make permanent pandemic-era protections, including a timeline for repaying back rent, a ban on no-fault evictions, establishment of a minimum threshold for eviction for residents with arrearages and requires rental property owners to pay relocation fees in some situations involving large rent increases.

  • City of San Antonio - The City Council of San Antonio is considering a resolution to raise awareness relating to existing state law and local ordinance including the right to demand home maintenance in certain circumstances, advance notice requirements, a private of action when rental property owners fail to make repairs and protection from retaliation after a complaint is made. This resolution is aimed at raising awareness and generating momentum to drive future rental resident-friendly legislation.

  • Borough of State College, Pennsylvania - State College, Pennsylvania passed a budget that will enable it to develop and implement future renters bill of rights legislation. It is important to note that no legislation has been proposed nor law has taken effect.

Background

The adoption of a renters bill of rights creates unnecessary duplication of protections that are already required by and disclosed in landlord-tenant, eviction and fair housing laws or far exceed the parties’ responsibilities in a standard leasing transaction. These proposed renters rights laws and housing policies would create unnecessary and duplicative requirements that interfere with the validity of lawful lease contracts. 

The National Apartment Association (NAA) opposes the establishment of renters bill of rights laws and housing policies included therein that interfere with the validity of lawful lease contracts. Instead, we urge policymakers to pursue responsible and sustainable housing policy changes that address housing affordability challenges across the country and keep renters stably housed.

NAA continues its advocacy efforts to discourage federal interference in the landlord-tenant relationship. We expect increased activity at the state and local level given the release of President Biden’s Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights and his call to action to state and local governments to adopt and expand renter protections in line with the Blueprint’s principles. For more information on the Blueprint, See NAA’s Update on Biden Administration’s “Renters Bill of Rights” and policy digest.

NAA and its affiliate partners are determined to defend the rental housing industry against these harmful policies. For more information about renters bill of rights policy, please contact Joe Riter, NAA’s Senior Manager, Public Policy.