Protecting and Expanding America’s Affordable Housing Supply

America faces a housing shortage unlike ever before. Years of underproduction and underbuilding have resulted in skyrocketing housing costs, a decline of about 4.7 million affordable apartments, and an insufficient supply of about 1 million homes on the market, compared to the 4 million available in 2007.

Large investors, private equity firms and other corporations are escalating affordability challenges by purchasing large portions of residential property as profit making ventures. These groups charge high rent or sell at prices unaffordable for most Americans, and they’re less willing to negotiate affordable rental agreements.

Ensuring there are enough affordable rentals to meet demand is critical, especially for Americans who want to save for a downpayment and access the benefits of homeownership. To close the supply-demand gap, we must incentivize development of more affordable rental properties and protect local housing providers who contribute more than 40% of all rental housing today and are more likely to negotiate affordable rent.

These small, mom-and-pop landlords—those who own properties of about one to four units in their local community and conduct the day-to-day management—are more likely to provide naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH). NOAHs are multifamily rental properties that are affordable to low-income households without a public subsidy attached. Large investors are less likely to provide these affordable rentals without government incentives because they can afford to have a “this is the rent, take it or leave it” mentality.

Today, NOAHs account for most affordable housing units across the United States. Preserving and expanding NOAHs is critical to ensuring Americans can access affordable rentals now and into the future. Supporting local housing providers is a key pillar of this effort.

Unfortunately, NOAHs are at risk due to ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which exacerbated the housing affordability crisis and put economic strains on millions of households and their landlords.

As housing providers share their stories with us to help bring the challenges they face to light, Nathan R. of Chicago stated, “Now, people that used to live here [Chicago] are being priced out not just of homeownership, but rental housing too… Our renters are often working two jobs just to pay for the now $995 one-bedroom rent.”

Megan E., a housing provider in Los Angeles, shared, “I own rent controlled units in the city of L.A. During the Covid era rent freeze and eviction moratorium, I have lost thousands of dollars and have found it difficult to make necessary repairs. The city has shown complete disregard for the small business housing providers like myself. We already had significantly below market rents before the pandemic due to the strict rent control laws in place. With the rent freeze, we’ve seen operating costs skyrocket with record inflation year after year. Freezing all increases since our last increase in 2019 has meant net operating income has fallen significantly.”

You might think rent control is the best solution to avoid rising rents. However, economists have studied the impact of rent control across a number of markets and drawn the same conclusion: rent control actually decreases affordability in the long run. You heard that right—rent control is a band-aid solution that undermines small housing providers’ ability to maintain NOAHs and stalls the development of additional housing stock by taking away incentives for developers.

The right path to housing affordability is to provide targeted assistance to renters who are facing economic distress and invest in increasing America’s housing stock to close the supply-demand gap.

Fortunately, there are long-term solutions on the table right now that can support renters and protect and expand America’s affordable housing stock:

  1. Providing direct, targeted assistance to renters facing economic distress will help stabilize households and properties and set individuals up for financial success when entering the market.
  2. Creating housing grant programs to help pass pro-housing policies at the state and local levels will remove regulatory barriers so more homes can be built faster.
  3. Passing the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act would create a new federal tax credit to incentivize the development and renovation of family housing in the communities that need it most, putting about 500,000 more family homes on the market in the next decade.
  4. Passing the Revitalizing Downtowns Act would create a tax credit to convert unused office buildings into residential, commercial and retail spaces, adding more affordable housing units to the market.

By pushing forward these solutions, we can not only tackle today’s housing crisis, but we can help the small, local housing providers continue to serve their communities in the most effective ways possible. Here are two things you can do today to support our effort:

  • Visit our Action Hub to add your voice in support of pro-housing solutions.
  • Housing providers, share your story and help policymakers understand the challenges you face and the most effective solutions.


About the American Property Owners Alliance
The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization created to protect and support property owners and pave the way for future property owners. Our mission is to educate property owners about federal issues, laws and policies; to advocate for owners’ rights and interests; and to mobilize, when necessary, to secure those rights and interests.
Sign up for updates and we’ll keep you informed on policy changes that impact your investment. 

Click Here