Ending The War On The Suburbs

The New York Post posted an article yesterday about President Trump undoing a policy put in place under President Obama that would impact the freedom of Americans to live where they choose to live in the neighborhoods they choose.

The article reports:

During the Obama administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development tried to install Washington bureaucrats as the decision makers for how communities across all 50 states should grow. Using an obscure rule called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, HUD sought to remake America’s cities, towns and villages by forcing any community that was getting federal funds to meet racial quotas.

To do this, HUD applied the notion of “disparate impact,” which unilaterally deems housing patterns to be discriminatory if minority representation is not evenly spread across the jurisdiction. Communities with high concentrations of minorities are automatically labeled segregated.

Westchester served as the petri dish for HUD’s “grand experiment.” On Jan. 1, 2010, the day I was inaugurated as county executive, a federal consent decree signed by my predecessor went into effect requiring Westchester to spend at least $56 million to build 750 units of affordable housing over the next seven years in 31 white communities — or face crippling financial penalties.

The article details the problems the program created in Westchester County, New York.

The article then notes the solution:

The impasse finally ended with the election of Donald Trump. Elections matter.

But the big win came last month, when — based on Westchester’s experience and expertise from groups like Americans for Limited Government — the Trump administration replaced Team Obama’s AFFH regulation with its own.

Gone is the federal mandate dictating the modeling of communities based on statistical formulas. Restored to local officials is the power that gives them the flexibility to weigh real-world factors in making housing decisions. Restored, too, is the prosecution of bad actors by the courts — not bureaucrats — under the Fair Housing Act.

And builders are now more likely to build affordable housing, since the attached strings have been removed.

The Democratic candidates for president didn’t get the memo. They continue to support radical, divisive and failed housing policies aimed at abolishing single-family residential zoning. And they’d use billions of our tax dollars to local communities — and the threat of lawsuits — to get their way.

The United States needs affordable housing. By replacing social engineering with common sense, guarded by strong nondiscrimination laws, the country is now better positioned to meet that need — and that’s a victory for everyone.

The free market coupled with individual choice and freedom is always the best solution for any problem.

Creating A Catch-22 For Landlords

Owning rental property is one way to plan for your retirement. If you are handy and live close to the property, it can be a very profitable investment. If you don’t live nearby, a good rental agency can handle the details for you.

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted a story about a new federal regulation that is going to make being a successful landlord more difficult.

The article reports:

The Obama administration has just made it easier for felons to move in next door. Landlords who don’t want tenants who are going to mug their neighbors or deal drugs will now be treated as racists and potentially sued.

Last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued new guidelines to landlords, warning that bans against renters with criminal convictions violate the Fair Housing Act because they disproportionately affect minorities.

In effect, the Obama regime is now outlawing criminal background checks for apartment rentals, even though such screening is critical for the protection and security of tenants and property, and serves a legitimate business need.

In a newly released 10-page missive, HUD warns landlords they can be held liable for discrimination if they deny housing over criminal records.

It gets really interesting when you consider the other side of the coin:

So now landlords, real estate agents and property managers will think twice before turning away drug dealers and thieves, even rapists, who are members of this “protected class” — even though barring high-risk tenants serves a legitimate, nondiscriminatory purpose.

This puts landlords in a terrible legal bind.

To protect themselves from federal action, they would be wise to avoid even inquiring about the criminal records of prospective tenants. But if they fail to adequately screen them and rent to one who robs or hurts a neighbor, they could be sued by the victim for negligence.

No doubt many will see no option but to raise rents to indirectly exclude criminals from their rentals, which will just end up hurting everybody who rents housing — including innocent, law-abiding tenants.

In a move to protect the rights of convicted felons, the federal government has just created problems for the average American. I believe people who are renting property have the right to know the background of their renters. If a landlord feels that a former criminal has changed his ways, he should be free to rent to him. However, if there is no indication that a former criminal has changed his ways, the landlord should have the right to determine whether or not he wants to rent his property to that person.