WRITTEN BY HBA AND AAM CEO, FORREST M. WALL, CAE
Rent Control Legislation Introduced in Michigan House of Representatives
Legislation has been introduced which would completely repeal the current law prohibiting local governments in Michigan from enacting rent control ordinances. HB 4947 was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives on September 7th by Rep. Carrie Rheingans (D-Ann Arbor). This bill comes on the heels of a proposal by Rep. Emily Dievendorf (D-Lansing) which outlines numerous anti-rental housing initiatives, including rent control. Rent control has received increased attention in many parts of the country, and has been discussed on a national level by the Biden Administration. Here in Michigan, a number of bills have been proposed in recent years in an attempt to chip away at the current law. Examples include a bill allowing exceptions for rent control in specific situations and a bill providing for inclusionary zoning. The preemption of local rent control is one of the most significant legislative accomplishments in AAM’s history. The existing law is good for Michigan’s economy and, for decades, has fostered an environment of stability for housing developers to build a variety of rental housing options to best serve the public.
Bill Mandating Application Fee Refunds Introduced
Legislation has been proposed in the Michigan House of Representatives which would require rental property owners to refund application fees to prospective residents who apply but are denied tenancy. House Bill 4891 was introduced by Representative Joey Andrews (D-38th District) on July 18. It allows the property owner to retain the background screening fee portion of the application fee if the property owner provides a copy of the screening report to the prospective resident. The bill also provides that violation of the law would allow the prospective resident to bring a civil action against the property owner for actual damages or $1,000, whichever is greater, as well as attorney fees and costs. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Economic Development and Small Business for consideration.
National Coalition Warns FHFA Against Rent Control
A coalition of national associations representing housing, lenders and residents sent a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Sandra Thompson warning against rent control and stabilization policies. The letter stated that those policies will increase rents, reduce the capital needed to boost the supply of housing, and ultimately hurt current and future renters. FHFA is currently considering changes for Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac-backed multifamily properties. The letter was signed by 18 organizations, including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the National Apartment Association (NAA) and the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC).