As rent protection programs expire, CFPB says tenants could be at risk
Housing vulnerability for tenants has become a major issue for the Biden administration, but now that eviction protection has effectively ended, millions of tenants and their families at risk from COVID-19 could be at risk, according to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The report – “Financial conditions of tenants before and during the COVID-19 pandemic” – concludes that while several government relief efforts may have helped maintain the financial stability of tenants and their families, these same people can now to be in danger.
“Today’s report confirms that renters, compared to owners, are more likely to be black or Hispanic, more likely to have lower incomes, and more likely to be female. They are also at particular risk of falling further behind as the country recovers from the economic impacts of COVID, ”CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio said in a press release.
“Past recessions and depressions have seen communities of color and low-income communities of all races and ethnicities left behind as the economy as a whole recovers. We cannot repeat this story. The CFPB is committed to helping tenants and their families prosper. We must amplify and protect the modest gains tenants have made during the pandemic to ensure this country’s full and fair recovery from COVID-19. “
Certain demographic groups are hit harder than others
By comparing tenants and owners, the researchers found some interesting nuances. For example, relative to homeowners, renters are more likely to be black or Hispanic, younger, and low-income than other demographic groups.
Before the pandemic, renters’ debts were also very different from landlords. As an example, the agency cited the situation in June 2019, when tenants were more likely than landlords to have student debt and to have used some form of alternative financial service, such as payday loans and auto titles.
“During the pandemic, despite poor labor market conditions, the financial conditions of tenants, on average, seemed to improve as much or more than those of homeowners. The credit scores of tenants increased by 16 points during the pandemic, against 10 points for mortgages and 7 points for other owners, ”says the study. In particular, the report mentioned that in situations where the credit scores of tenants may have improved, those scores remained significantly lower than those of landlords.
What tenants can do if they are affected by the change
The CFPB appears to be as proactive as possible in defending tenants in this situation – at least with credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. He said he reminded these businesses of their obligation to accurately report rent payments and evictions.
“Accurate reporting is now even more essential with the new mortgage underwriting process announced by Fannie Mae last week, which will add rent payments to the appraisal process for mortgage qualification and approval. The CFPB will use today’s report to indicate how best to support a recovery that is fair to tenants and all Americans, ”the agency said.
Consumers who encounter errors in rental information or other errors on their consumption reports, or believe that such errors exist, have rights and remedies. Consumers have the right to:
Review their credit reports from national rating agencies. Normally, consumers can request a free consumption report every 12 months from each of the three national rating agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). However, until April 2022, consumers can request a free report every week.
Dispute errors identified on their consumption reports. Consumers have the right to dispute errors in their consumer reports with the CRA and / or the supplier.
Review their reports from other consumer rating agencies. For a list of some of the companies offering reports, such as tenant screening reports, please visit the CFPB blog.
In the event of failure, the CFPB is open to complaints on its website. The agency says consumer complaints are important to its enforcement actions and consumers should feel free to report any concerns to it.