Brown called out big investors and private equity firms for harming tenants and communities.

WASHINGTON, DC — US Senator Shirod Brown (D-OH), chairman of the US Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, delivered the following keynote address titled “‘Rent Eats Early.’ Communities are impacted by today’s housing market.

Follow Senator Brown’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Yesterday was the beginning of the month. For millions of Americans, that means rent was worth it.

And for many renters, that rent just keeps getting higher and higher.

Two weeks ago in this committee, we heard from witnesses how the cost of housing is affecting the affordability of millions of families buying their first home, and how one illness or job loss or car repair affects renters who are only renting. pull out.

This problem is squeezing people across the country, working all kinds of jobs – even jobs that are supposed to be a ticket to the middle class.

This is not a new problem.

For decades, too many Americans have struggled to scrape together their monthly rent. Too many people live in filthy housing infested with rats, mold, or broken furniture.

That’s why 90 years ago this country started investing in affordable housing – so that everyone has a safe and affordable place to live.

But our funding for that effort could not meet the needs of tenants, or even the basic maintenance of federally assisted housing.

Over the past decade, nearly half of renters have been paying more than 1/3 of their income to keep a roof over their heads.

And tenants’ challenges are getting worse.

We are 3.8 million homes short of what we need. No region in the country has enough housing.

And for low-income renters, only 36 affordable units are available for every 100 renters.

This means renters can’t vote with their feet in the housing market – because they have nowhere else to go.

The acute housing shortage means that renters have to make do with what they can get — even if their house has dangerous lead paint on the walls, or the landlord hasn’t fixed the heat, or their bathroom has been clogged for weeks. .

And with housing so hard to find, tenants are forced to ask themselves whether it’s worth pushing for repairs from the same person who can eviction on their records and determine whether they have a place to sleep at night.

A housing shortage means rents are going up for everyone.

Rents nationwide are up 15 percent from a year ago. In some cities like Austin, Texas or Newark, under Senator Mendez, New Jersey state rents have increased by more than 25 percent.

When the rent goes up, it makes everything a little more serious. More and more families are just one disaster away from losing their homes.

Tenants see the pain of all these rent increases—missed trips to visit family, forced car repairs, having to work a second job—just to make ends meet.

Wall Street investors see only opportunity.

They don’t see the pain… or they just don’t care.

Increasingly, investors are buying single-family homes — often bought by first-time home buyers — and renting them out at higher rates.

28 percent of homes sold earlier this year went to investors.

Think about it:

More than a quarter of the homes are being bought by out-of-town investors who don’t care about the community and want to make a quick buck — not families who want to put down roots, who dream of seeing their children. Growing up there.

That number is up from 16 percent a few years ago. And large investors with deep pockets — those with more than 100 properties — nearly doubled their share of these purchases.

Ms. Bruner first saw it in Cincinnati, where a Texas-based company bought 29 properties on a street in Price Hill. 29 properties on one street.

More than half of the houses in that neighborhood are now rented.

And the city is left to go after the owners who cause these out-of-state homes to be torn down.

Families need a landlord in the community they can talk to.

Cities need landlords who want to properly maintain their buildings and help families stay in their homes.

But big Wall Street firms are promising investors double-digit yields and raising double-digit exit prices to value community housing — good landlords, renters and first-time homebuyers.

And they’re not just buying single-family homes. They’re also targeting mobile home communities and apartment buildings — anywhere that adds to their own bottom lines.

Last week, the Select House Subcommittee on the Corona Virus Crisis published a report showing that just four of these giant landlords evicted nearly 15,000 people during the outbreak.


When a tenant falls behind on rent or their landlord can’t fix their heat, we often hear that it’s a personal problem.

We hear that it is only between the landlord and the landlord or that the local administration is responsible for its bad policies.

And it is true that every eviction, every rent increase, every unlivable house is a personal crisis for the individual family.

But all these individual crises add up to one big national problem.

When children have to change schools every six months, it costs us all more for education.

It costs us all in lost productivity, when our workers support our businesses and schools, and when our first responders are unable to find affordable housing.

When people don’t have a place to live and can’t store their medications, it costs us all more in health care.

This is not someone else’s problem. It affects us all. And we must work together to solve it.

We must promote safe and affordable housing for renters and homeowners at all income levels.

We need to preserve the affordable housing we currently have, so we don’t even fall behind on housing supply.

And we need to help renters find and stay in housing with financial assistance, including emergency assistance, and support for eviction prevention efforts like mediation — the bipartisan Eviction Crisis Act.

I look forward to hearing our testimony today on how we can solve the challenges that tenants face and how we can increase the number of good landlords. It benefits us all.


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