Healthy Rental Housing
Healthy Rental Housing policies ensure that homes in our communities meet the safety standards we all want — from good plumbing to lead-free paint. Proactive rental inspections can help detect life-threatening toxins, like mold and asbestos. When communities have Healthy Rental Housing policies, hardworking families are protected from harm and can feel safer and healthier at home.
The Safe Rental Housing Challenge
- Substandard conditions in the home contribute to a wide range of significant health problems such as exacerbated asthma and respiratory conditions, exposure to mold and pests, and childhood lead poisoning.
- Renters typically live in older homes than do homeowners and are more likely to report living in houses with severely inadequate plumbing, heating, wiring, and general upkeep.
- According to 2019 Census data, 58% of Black households are rented, 53% of Hispanic households are rented, and less than 31% of white households are rented.
- Traditionally, housing code enforcement programs have been complaint-based, meaning that housing inspections are made only when a complaint has been filed.
A Healthy Solution: Healthy Rental Housing
- Improves Housing Quality — Healthy Rental Housing policies, including proactive rental inspection, provide a way for cities to adopt a more prevention-based, equitable approach to improve housing quality and ensure that housing on the rental market is habitable.
- Ensures Homes are Safe — Registered rental units are inspected on a regular basis to ensure they are safe and livable. Cities that implement Healthy Rental Housing policies can see a 50% decrease in home fires, saving millions of dollars in first-responder resources.
- Addresses Problems Quickly — Cities with Healthy Rental Housing policies reduce the length of time that property violations remain unaddressed. Instead of taking years to fix violations and protect families from harm, it can take days — helping to reduce the health risks associated with housing code violations.
The state of healthy rental housing policies in big US cities
24 out of 75 cities received a medal for healthy rental housing policies, including two golds, three silver, and 19 bronze.
Measuring cities' Healthy Rental Housing policies
|How will we award healthy rental housing medals?||Bronze Medal||Silver Medal||Gold Medal|
|City has a policy that requires annual rental registration of buildings with three or more units for all property types. Certain exemptions may be allowed including when the unit is vacant, a family member is living there but not on the deed, units where rent is not collected, and if the owner occupies one of the units.|
|City policy requires routine, periodic inspections to be conducted at least every 10 years.|
|City policy requires inspection of the property exterior.|
|City policy requires advanced notice of inspection to go to the landlord or the tenant.|
|City policy requires routine, periodic inspections to be conducted at least every three to five years.|
|City policy requires inspection of property exteriors and interiors when there is an exterior violation.|
|City policy requires landlords to pay registration or inspection fees.|
|City policy requires an evaluation or reporting requirement.|