Sen. Jacky Rosen asks federal government to investigate corporate landlords

Sen. Jacky Rosen asks federal government to investigate corporate landlords

FILE - US Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada) speaks at an Atlantic Council event on day seven of the COP26 at SECC on Nov. 6, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo credit Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

By Casey Harrison

June 14, 2024

Rosen asked the acting secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to crack down on ‘predatory’ practices being used by corporate landlords that make housing unobtainable for Nevadans. 

Nevada US Sen. Jacky Rosen is urging the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to crack down on practices she says are allowing corporate landlords to price gouge tenants seeking affordable housing. 

In the letter to acting HUD Secretary Adrianne Todman, which was dated Thursday, Rosen said Nevada residents have been simultaneously dealing with growing housing costs and a supply shortage as well as “predatory” practices that exacerbate existing barriers. The senator further noted Nevada currently lacks roughly 80,000 affordable housing units, and that nationwide, a record-high 22.4 million renter households are spending more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities. 

Rosen also cited a report published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal last year showing that nearly 14% of Clark County’s stock of single family housing was owned by a corporate investor.

Rosen is also not the only public official urging federal officials to take action to increase access to affordable housing. For years, officials for the city of Las Vegas and Clark County tried to cut down on the number of short-term rentals like Airbnb, especially near the Las Vegas Strip. Earlier this month, federal law enforcement raided a rental company in Arizona amid a larger investigation into housing price-fixing. 

RELATED: New affordable housing community for seniors to open in Las Vegas

“Rising home prices and a severe affordable housing shortage have contributed to an untenable housing market for renters and homebuyers in Nevada and across the country,” Rosen wrote. “Widespread corporate ownership of available housing stock has only made the affordable housing crisis worse.”

To address those concerns, Rosen urged HUD to take the following actions: 

  • Investigate whether home prices are being manipulated by “artificially” reducing capacity and therefore inflating prices. 
  • Monitor home purchases nationwide to investigate possible instances of market manipulation, and collect data of housing purchases by corporate entities. 
  • Collect and analyze data on “bad actor” corporate investor practices that she said would unfairly prevent applicants or tenants from accessing their units. 
  • Announce support and further resources for existing federal programs that are tailored to low-income renters and first-time home buyers. 

For her latter point, Rosen mentioned support for programs like the National Housing Trust Fund, Low-income Housing Tax Credit, the HOME Investment Partnership program and others that provide down payment assistance. 

“By raising housing prices and decreasing the supply of affordable homes on the market, many bad actor corporate investors are putting the American Dream of home ownership and housing security out of reach for too many,” Rosen continued in her letter. “With Nevadans already struggling to pay their gas, grocery, and child care bills, families simply cannot afford unnecessary and predatory housing cost increases.” 

Read Rosen’s full letter here

HUD on Friday also announced new guidance to help protect the  roughly 1.6 million Americans living in public housing from extreme heat. Effective immediately, HUD has issued new guidance to Public Housing Agencies that clarify steps that can be taken immediately to reduce exposure to dangerously-hot temperatures. 

The new guidelines allow the agencies to increase resident utility allowances or to simply forgo surcharges for the use of cooling methods like air conditioning, according to a release. Officials say the move will help lower home energy costs for those who live in public housing. 

“We must protect the health and safety of our families during increasingly severe weather events, like extreme heat, that can cause grave harm and even death to any member of our community,” Todman said in a release. “As we transition into the Summer months, the need for public housing residents to access necessary cooling systems is vital and we are assertively taking these steps in the fight against extreme heat.”

In Las Vegas, daily high temperatures over the weekend are expected to remain in the triple digits, according to the National Weather Service. Saturday is forecasted to be the hottest over the next week, with highs expected around 109 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • Casey Harrison

    Casey Harrison is political correspondent for The Nevadan. Previously, he covered politics and the Oakland Athletics' relocation to Southern Nevada for the Las Vegas Sun, and before that, was a digital producer at The Detroit News. Casey graduated from Michigan State University in 2019.

CATEGORIES: NATIONAL POLITICS
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