American Dream in Flux: The Endangered Right to Lease a Home
Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal, Vol. 49, No. 2, 2014
98 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2015
Date Written: 2014
Homeownership in the US is on the decline and the percentage of the population that rents their residence is growing. Renters present a distinct demographic compared to owners, and most of the more vulnerable segments of society rent their homes. But the law prohibits renting a home in some neighborhoods. Occasionally, zoning provisions hamper the ability of would-be tenants and would-be landlords to rent. More typically, however, community restrictive covenants are what block rentals. Zoning prohibitions on rentals have been attacked as violations of property rights. But in condominiums and other privately governed neighborhoods, segregation of renters from owner occupants has been continually upheld by the courts and has been consistently promoted as policy by government and quasi government entities. These policies and legal structures harm not only the rights of would-be landlords but also would-be tenants in such communities. Community rental restrictive covenants perpetuate broader social harms as well. It is time to rethink the desirability of these restrictions, even in the "private" context of neighborhood covenants.
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