RHINO is the Rental Housing Information Network in Ohio

Today in Ohio history

September 25, 1954 -- Cleveland baseball team wins AL record 111 games.

This week's rental housing news

  • September 9, 2021. Bloomberg. Rents Rise in All Big U.S. Cities for First Time Since Covid Hit. "Apartment rents were up in August from a year earlier in all the top 30 U.S. metro areas, the first time that’s happened since the start of the pandemic, according to a new report by Yardi.The national average rent in multi-family buildings rose 10.3% from a year earlier to $1,539 -- the first double-digit rise in the dataset’s history -- after a $25 increase in August, the real-estate firm said. Over the past 10 years, the average pace of growth has been 2%. This year’s surge in housing costs has added a new dimension to the debate over how long pandemic inflation will last, with signs that it’s picking up speed at a time other Covid-driven price spikes -- like the one in used cars -- may be topping out."

  • September 7, 2021. WESA. Pittsburgh, The State’s No. 3 City Examines Every Rental Home — Eventually. 'In Allentown, the state’s third-most-populous city, all rental units have been subjected to semi-regular inspections since 2000. Some landlords say Allentown’s inspections are inconsistent, while tenant advocates counter that they’re not frequent enough. But the program survived a court challenge from landlords, and inspectors will soon be armed with computers even as officials weigh more targeted inspections of problem properties."

  • September 8, 2021. WaPo. Fannie Mae to include rent payments in mortgage applicants’ credit history review. "A good credit score is an essential part of making the transition from renter to homeowner, but establishing a solid credit report can feel out of reach for some consumers. Many prefer not to use credit cards or loans and therefore have a limited credit report for lenders to review."

  • September 9, 2021. Bloomberg. Rents Rise in All Big U.S. Cities for First Time Since Covid Hit. "Apartment rents were up in August from a year earlier in all the top 30 U.S. metro areas, the first time that’s happened since the start of the pandemic, according to a new report by Yardi.The national average rent in multi-family buildings rose 10.3% from a year earlier to $1,539 -- the first double-digit rise in the dataset’s history -- after a $25 increase in August, the real-estate firm said. Over the past 10 years, the average pace of growth has been 2%. This year’s surge in housing costs has added a new dimension to the debate over how long pandemic inflation will last, with signs that it’s picking up speed at a time other Covid-driven price spikes -- like the one in used cars -- may be topping out."

  • September 8, 2021. Bloomberg CityLab. Developers Offer Mobility Services to Lure Car-Free Renters. "Residents of Culdesac Tempe, a no-cars-allowed development in Arizona, will receive a bundle of discounted mobility services when the first units open in 2022. With private cars off-limits, residents of the light-rail-adjacent housing complex Culdesac Tempe will get a transit pass and discounts on mobility services."

  • September 10, 2021WVXU How An Affordable Apartment Complex Ended Up Displacing People In 28 Units. " 'I don't know what the future is going to hand me,' one resident being displaced said. When City Council unanimously approved a tax exemption for the Arts Apartments at Music Hall in November, they hailed the project as one that will provide 248 units of affordable housing in the city's gentrifying West End. But now, residents in 28 units are being displaced. Most of them were given 90 days notice to move, according to property owners Birge & Held."

  • September 10, 2021. WTOL. After lifting of eviction moratorium in Toledo rental assistance is in high demand. "Since the eviction moratorium came to an end, some people are getting behind on rent and utilities, but there are places to get help."

The path to universal housing vouchers -- start from here.

In an online discussion this past week, nonprofit housing providers and tenant advocates wrestled with the complexities of moving towards universal housing vouchers. Over the 90 year history of US housing policy, the principles of incrementalism and local implementation have created a complex "system" for addressing affordable housing. Those principles can guide us forward at this latest policy turning point.

In the 1930s, FDR adapted British "social" housing into the "public housing" that we know today. In the 1960s, Congress provided low interest mortgages and rental assistance to private sector developers. In the 1980s, Section 8 vouchers (now called Housing Choice Vouchers--HCV) were added to the mix of rent subsidies, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits became the primary tool for creating new rental units. None of the older programs ever went away! They were adapted to new economic environments.

In the 2000s, project based rental assistance was refinanced through Mark to Market, and in the 2010s RAD was used as a refinancing tool for public housing developments. Now, in the 2020s, the Housing Choice Vouchers makeover brings a new challenge: transitioning to an entitlement/empower approach to Federal rental assistance.

Public housing and private owners with project-based assistance are worried that their tenants will all choose a voucher and move, leaving their properties half empty...or worse.

The tried and true strategy of incrementalism and local implementation is embodied in the draft bill from the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC). Fund'm all! The bill that HFSC has drafted as part of the Reconciliation Budget does just that. National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that the HFSC includes "$75 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers and $15 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance; $80 billion to preserve public housing; and $37 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund." For now, the proposal is not a universal voucher program, just a giant step towards universal eligibility for some form of rental assistance.