After COVID, Will Congress Pass Any Bills To Keep Rental Prices Down?

The United States tops a number of international lists, beating every other country. Health care here costs more than anywhere else. We have higher debt than anywhere else. And the four most expensive cities for rent are all in the US. We make up a full fourteen cities within the top 20.

The high cost of rent, alongside the static federal minimum wage, had led to an affordable housing crisis even before the pandemic hit. With COVID-19 rendering millions of Americans temporarily or permanently jobless, the crisis has become much worse.

Congress passed bills to keep people housed during the pandemic, including a moratorium on evictions. But with the pandemic ending, are there going to be any long-term bills aimed at sustainability? The problem is not that people don’t have jobs, but that rent is too high even for Americans working two low-wage jobs.

It may seem unlikely that Congress will pass bills to lower rental prices. While we possibly have more progressive members of Congress than ever before, putting limits on the income landlords are able to make would be incredibly controversial. However, there are reasons a bill keeping rental prices down could pass.


If there is anything that conservative American politicians hate more than the concept of welfare it is the unhoused population. Homelessness is seen as a crisis not because of the lived experience of those impacted by it but because of what it does to cities and the economy. Tent communities, people living on the street, and even overcrowded houses are all scorned by the right.

In fact, an increased presence of unhoused folks in a neighborhood is likely to drive rental prices down further than any bill would. The presence of desperate people also leads to higher levels of crime and addiction. It is in the socioeconomic interests of an area to ensure that people are housed.

It is also the economy that suffers. A lot has been written about the lack of candidates for low-paying jobs, even in a post-COVID America with still high unemployment rates. There are a number of reasons for this, including the reality that minimum wage jobs don’t pay the bills anyway. However, what is sometimes overlooked is the perceived quality of candidates.

Establishments are hesitant to hire unhoused people, due to their lack of access to clean washrooms, the exhaustion they face from living on the streets or in crowded apartments, and a number of other factors.

Will Congress pass a bill to keep rental prices down, or will they look for other solutions?

Other rental expenses

One of the issues with looking only at the cost of rent is that we ignore other factors that make renting even more expensive. These include the cost of electricity and water, as well as WiFi and cleaning supplies.

There is also renters insurance, which is important for any renters to have. Since landlords insurance does not cover the possessions of the tenants, a fire, theft, or other incident could lead to even worse financial crises for renters.

Renters insurance is, fortunately, affordable. Lemonade renters insurance in Florida offers  competitive pricing, even though rent itself is higher than the US average. That said, it is still an added expense for people struggling to pay rent in the first place.

It is possible that Congress will pass bills keeping the cost of electricity and water low, as that will not harm the bottom line of landlords. However, nothing is guaranteed.

The future for renters

As things stand, it is unclear what the future holds for renters in America. Rent has consistently gotten higher over the past decade or so while low-wage jobs have not kept pace. With people struggling to find jobs at all in the wake of the pandemic, and having to make up for months spent jobless once they do find work, evictions might lead to a major crisis that affects every American.

Congress does not like to pass bills that impact the income of private individuals, but that may be the best solution for now. However, it is also possible that inaction will lead to no big decisions being made, and the eviction crisis becoming a disastrous reality.

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