Given the recent national focus on our country’s housing affordability crisis, lawmakers at all levels of government have not only been exploring ways to increase housing supply but also the many ways in which the resident/housing provider relationship impacts resident outcomes. Many policymakers are discovering what housers have long known: A positive resident/housing provider relationship is important to achieving successful outcomes for both parties involved.

Following months of public debate about policy solutions, the Biden administration rolled out a plan with the goal of “protecting renters and promoting housing affordability.” While this federal approach did not mandate any new legal requirements, it did call on industry stakeholders to carry out a challenge to advance “resident-centered” management practices. Given our members’ constant focus on positive resident outcomes, the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) answered the call.

After more than six months of collaboration with members of NMHC, rental housing operations experts, and focus groups of renters and homeowners across the country, providers nationwide made history in September by joining together to support the Foundations for Rental Housing.

This groundbreaking effort aims to support residents as they build their lives in rental communities by designating six core concepts that form the basis of a positive relationship between rental housing providers and residents.

  • Engage with residents to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and communication;
  • Have procedures in place to respond to resident requests;
  • Comply with all applicable antidiscrimination, fair housing, and fair credit laws;
  • Support residents who express an interest in enhancing their credit through rent payment reporting;
  • Respond to requests from residents facing financial hardship who are seeking external resources; and
  • Rights and responsibilities of lease holders and housing providers will be contained in the lease documents.

With more than 100 housers representing over 4 million rental units across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., already signed on, this initiative will be a powerful tool in educating lawmakers on the role housing providers play.

In fact, on the very day of the Foundations release, NMHC staff and membership leaders met with Jared Bernstein, the White House chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, for a thoughtful and comprehensive discussion about the Foundations and housing policy solutions to the challenges facing communities throughout the nation.

Through NMHC’s promotion of the Foundations—at the White House meeting and beyond—this work has reinforced that we are truly better off together to provide the housing needed for our country. Whether you’re a houser, a renter, a policymaker, or a housing advocate, it is clear that there is so much more we agree on than don’t. Achieving our shared goal of promoting housing affordability solutions and advancing positive outcomes for renters will be no small feat—and the only path forward is a road shared.