Staying in Place to Get Ahead: Creating Renter Stability through Master Leases with Built-in Savings Accounts

2016
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Andrew Jakabovics and Allison Charette
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Summary
This whitepaper proposes a master lease program that can offer low-income renting families greater housing stability while reducing their costs and helping them build savings. At a time when federal funds for rental assistance programs are disappearing, this unsubsidized program could provide much needed rental housing to low-income families.
Description

Renters today are facing the most serious affordability crisis in U.S. history, particularly low- and middle-income earners. With housing demanding so much of renters’ budgets, families have little left over for other essentials. And when unexpected expenses come up, renters often face eviction, making it difficult to remain in one residence for a long period.

This whitepaper proposes a master lease program that can offer low-income renting families greater housing stability while reducing their costs and helping them build savings. Under this approach, a nonprofit or mission-based organization would gain long-term access to units in existing buildings through a master lease arrangement in an effort to keep rents affordable for tenants. The nonprofit would also incorporate a savings mechanism into the tenants’ monthly lease payments.

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