The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x115

Right to Rent Legislation Would Slow Growing Rate of Foreclosure

Costs of renting still considerably cheaper than ownership in many areas.


As the number of homes around the country entering the foreclosure process continues to steadily rise, a recent report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) suggests that giving homeowners the right to rent their house at a fair market price may be one of the best ways to address the nation's foreclosure crisis.

"With roughly one-in four mortgages underwater, the loan modification plans put forth so far have done little to help homeowners facing foreclosure," said Dean Baker, Co-Director of CEPR and an author of the report. "Right to Rent, on the other hand, would benefit millions, provide families with real housing security, and could go into effect immediately."

The report, "The Gains from Right to Rent in 2010," analyzes the costs of renting versus owning a house in several major cities and finds that the Fair Market Rents in these metropolitan areas is often much lower than the cost of ownership.

"Ordinarily, the gap between owning and renting is not that large," continued Baker. "Due to the enormous run-up in house prices over the housing bubble years, however, ownership costs now vastly exceed rental costs in many of the bubble markets and homeowners in these markets have much to gain from having the opportunity to remain in a home as a renter following a foreclosure."

The report
documents the costs of renting and owning before and after taxes in 16 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and details substantial savings gained from renting across all scenarios depicted. The various scenarios consider the costs of mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance and maintenance costs, and mortgage deductions. An appendix is included that compares ownership and rental costs across 100 MSAs as well.

Under Right to Rent legislation, such as HR 5028, sponsored by Representatives Grijalva (AZ) and Kaptur (OH), Congress would temporarily alter foreclosure laws to let foreclosed homeowners remain in their homes as renters for a substantial period of time. This would save families from being kicked out of their homes and would go far to stop the blight of foreclosures affecting many of our communities. This plan requires no taxpayer dollars and no new bureaucracy to implement.

The full report on homeownership and rental costs can be found here. More details on the Right to Rent plan can be found here.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

(202) 293-5380