Housing policy in 2023 was characterized by a focus on development, relationships between tenants and landlords, and homelessness prevention. As the 2024 legislative sessions commence, housing will be one of the top issues on state legislators’ agendas. Read our analysis.

Housing is one of the top issues on state legislators’ agendas as we head into 2024. This policy space is broad and complex. It covers issues ranging from zoning codes to social barriers to housing. There’s a diverse range of perspectives that legislators must weigh. From builders to buyers, approaches to housing issues vary. For those working in housing, tracking the development of public policy is key. Tracking policy will keep you aware of changing regulations that impact your work. It’ll also give you the opportunity to weigh in with your valuable perspective. 

Below we summarize a few major areas of focus in housing policy in 2023. These specific issues will be the focus of debates across the country in 2024. 

Key Developments to Housing Policy in 2023

Housing Development

There are a myriad of causes for the rising cost of housing. Most parties agree that an increase in housing supply is necessary. Developing housing takes time, and the COVID-19 pandemic generally slowed progress. Legislators across the country are looking to incentivize rapid growth in housing supply. 

Financial incentives for developers are one tool lawmakers have to spur housing development. One such incentive is “gap funding.” This funding solves for the difference between building and the revenue generated from selling or renting at an affordable rate.

Illinois SB 1484 passed into law in June. The law appropriates $5 million in grants for organizations developing cooperative housing. With cooperative housing, residents own a share of the building.

In October, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey unveiled a massive housing bill. The Affordable Homes Act calls for the investment of more than $4 billion to solve the housing crisis. This includes over $1 billion in incentives for affordable and sustainable housing development.

States are also addressing regulations that make it harder to develop housing in certain areas. Allowing for more building and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) has been a popular strategy. California AB 976 and AB 1033 passed this session. Both prevent restrictive local ordinances that would make it harder to rent or sell ADUs. Similar efforts passed in Minnesota as well. SF 3035 authorized religious groups to develop “micro-unit” housing, regardless of local regulation. 

Many bills tackle specific types of housing, including ADUs, cooperative housing and micro-units. This targeted approach often leads to innovation in housing policy. With diverse options, housing solutions are more likely to fit community needs. For those looking to engage with these specific programs, tracking policy is crucial.

Legislation Impacting Tenants & Landlords

The relationship between tenants and landlords has been a policy issue for centuries. However, recent developments have brought new urgency to legislating rental agreements. This includes:

  • The housing crisis
  • Increases in homelessness
  • The COVID-19 pandemic
  • Pandemic-related eviction moratoriums

Maine provides a good example of a state making progress on protections for renters. In 2023, the state passed LD 330 and LD 45. LD 330 requires that tenants facing eviction have access to legal representation. LD 45 provides legal protections for tenants to assert their rights without retaliation. Additional legislation includes proposals to prevent discrimination and increase eviction notice requirements. 

Some state legislators have also proposed legislation increasing the rights of landlords. North Carolina’s HB 551, though ultimately unsuccessful, is a good example of this type of legislation. The bill sought to allow landlords to refuse to rent to tenants using federal housing assistance. It also proposed holding tenants liable for certain legal actions.  

Policy impacting rental relationships is the most divisive issue in this realm. States often move in opposite directions based on their partisan makeup. A national view of policy development ensures you’re aware of proposals made by each side. 

Homelessness Prevention

The most acute and visible sign of the need for legislators to act on housing is the rise in homelessness. Many policies mentioned above aid in preventing homelessness. Lawmakers have also aimed to tackle homeless as its own issue.

In 2023, Oregon passed two massive investments in housing and homelessness prevention. HB 5019 and HB 2001 include nearly $100 million in rental assistance. The bills aim to both prevent homelessness and aid in rehousing efforts. This investment is in line with Massachusetts’s Affordable Homes Act. Measures such as these are a popular approach as states face rapid increases in homelessness. Following the development and impact of this policy will be essential for advocates and researchers alike. 

Other proposals throughout the country include:

  • Supporting unhoused students
  • Increasing access to healthcare services
  • Promoting a “housing-first” model to end homelessness

Get Started With Plural

Housing policy in 2023 was characterized by a focus on development, relationships between tenants and landlords, and homelessness prevention. The amount and diversity of housing policy solutions can be overwhelming. Even following one state’s housing committee is challenging, time consuming, and inefficient. Plural’s unmatched open data and discovery tools make it easy to find and track the policy that matters to you.