What is the Tenant Empowerment Act?

Across the country, some tenants have been forced to live in substandard conditions, lacking sufficient hot water, reliable heat, or a roof that keeps out rain and snow. Tenants of color, in particular, are disproportionately impacted by health-related hazards in these homes such as mold, allergens, lead, and poor air quality.

In July, Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Maxine Waters introduced The Tenant Empowerment Act alongside tenants across the country! The proposed bill would empower Project Based Section 8 tenants to improve their homes as partners with HUD in various ways.

More specifically, it would:

  • Extend Rent Withholding and Repair and Deduct rights to Section 8 tenants nationwide;
  • Require HUD to match tenants' rent withholding in properties that have failed HUD inspections;
  • Allow tenants and communities to trigger HUD inspections;
  • Allow tenants to accompany and meet with HUD inspectors;
  • Provide Access to Information and Third Party Enforcement Rights;
  • Extend Right to Organize protections to Project Based Voucher tenants;
  • Provide funds for tenant organizing;
  • and much more!

Read the bill summary prepared by Rep. Pressley's office here and the full Discussion Draft text here.

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  • Grace Holley
    published this page in Policy Campaigns 2021-08-17 14:17:23 -0400


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