Raising the Bar

Linking Landlord Incentives and Regulation through Rental Licensing – A Short Guide for Local Officials

Author(s): Alan Mallach (Senior Fellow)

Regulating the condition and operation of rental housing is a major challenge for local governments across the United States, particularly those experiencing social and economic distress. Along with widespread foreclosures in the late ’00s and the loss of property values, many municipalities have seen increasing numbers of single family homes move from owner-occupancy to absentee ownership and rental occupancy. While a stock of sound, well-managed single family rentals properties can be a valuable asset for a community, in many cases much of this inventory is neither sound nor well-managed.

The responsibility for making sure that landlords maintain and manage their properties well falls to the municipality, which has the authority to enforce codes and take a variety of other actions under the legal powers they have to regulate property. The way in which municipalities do so can be called the regulatory framework.

This report offers guidance on three major areas: getting the most out of a landlord licensing system, improving the quality of rental management, and offering incentives to responsible landlords.

Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Published: November 2015

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