House Marks Up Homeowner Protection Bills

The House Financial Services Committee has announced a number of housing-related measures passed during the Committee’s full markup meeting.

The bills include:

  • The “Wildfire Insurance Coverage Act,” led by House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Maxine Waters, would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study assessing the danger that wildfires increasingly pose to communities and how the market for homeowners insurance is responding to this growing threat.
  • The “HUD Accountability Act” led by Mike Lawler would amend the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act to require the Secretary of HUD to testify before Congress on an annual basis. The bill would require HUD to amend policies and procedures applicable to HUD multifamily housing programs, including Section 8 project-based rental assistance (PBRA). The HUD Accountability Act would also require management and occupancy reviews conducted by the Office of Multifamily Housing Programs to include specified graded factors, including responsiveness to local code violations; and remediation of health, sanitation, and structural integrity issues.
  • The “HUD Transparency Act,” led by Rep. Monica De La Cruz, would require HUD’s Inspector General to testify before Congress on an annual basis.

Protecting homes in the wake of disaster

Introduced by Rep. Waters, HR 7462, the Wildfire Insurance Coverage Study Act of 2023 would require the GAO to conduct a study regarding insurance coverage for damages from wildfires, and for other purposes.

Combating rising housing costs

Rep. Lawler’s HUD Accountability Act was unanimously reported out of the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 50 to 0.

“With families in New York and across our nation feeling the squeeze from skyrocketing housing costs amid a crippling affordability crisis, we have got to take this housing crisis seriously,” said Rep. Lawler. “That’s why last week the Financial Services Committee held a field hearing in my district—the first congressional field hearing in Rockland County in years. It’s also why I’ve introduced multiple bills to help reduce the cost of housing for families and heroes and to fix the workforce housing crunch. The American people and Congress need to hear from their Housing Secretary on these issues and that her Department is taking them seriously. Unfortunately, before her most recent hearing with us, it had been 906 days since she last spoke to us. That’s unacceptable. My legislation requiring annual testimony by the Secretary is common sense and that’s reflected by the unanimous support it received in the Financial Services Committee yesterday.”

Commitment to homebuyers nationwide

Rep. De La Cruz introduced bipartisan HUD Transparency Act to require accountability at HUD. The bill would require the HUD Inspector General to testify annually before Congress. Prior to June, the last time an official from the HUD Inspector General’s office testified before the House of Representatives was in 2018.

“Given the magnitude of federal dollars sent to HUD, the housing affordability discussion cannot be had effectively without HUD’s commitment to being good stewards of our tax dollars,” said Rep. De La Cruz. “To ensure that people in our communities who most need HUD assistance can get that assistance, it is imperative that we work to root out waste, fraud, and abuse where found. Oversight is the job of Congress, and this bill asserts that oversight.”

Continued efforts to assist the housing space

The Biden Administration recently released details on how it will build more housing and lower housing costs nationwide through a series of initiatives by bolstering federal programs with a track-record of producing affordable housing; boosting the supply and affordability of manufactured homes; and the promotion of a more fair and transparent rental market.

The Biden Administration’s latest actions seek to build upon the dozens of commitments in the White House Housing Supply Action Plan released last May, and the Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights, released last January. The Administration recognized that additional actions were necessary to lower housing costs and have called on Congress to make the investments necessary to ensure access to quality and affordable housing for all Americans.

“Simply put, the supply of housing has not kept pace with increasing demand, making housing too expensive for far too many people. HUD is using every single tool we have to ensure the families we serve can access affordable homes,” said HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman. “Today’s announcement means that, together with our partners at the Department of the Treasury, HUD will be able to continue providing the capital needed to build and preserve tens of thousands of rental units for the families who need our help.”

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Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 25-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, most recently serving as Editor-in-Chief for National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He graduated from the New York Institute of Technology, where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books, and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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