Thomas Ramey Watson

A modest proposal to keep people in their homes and stop the glut of vacant houses

That brings us to a modest proposal that would go a long way toward addressing th is

problem. For the past several years, a number of economists have been calling for a “right to rent” measure that would keep homeowners whose properties are deep underwater in their units rather then sending them into the market for existing rentals.

Dean Baker, who has led the charge since 2008, called it a way to help homeowners “without throwing money at the banks.” Rather than Washington’s ineffective mortgage modification programs, Baker says, “we can simply temporarily change the rules on foreclosure to give people facing foreclosure the right to rent their homes at the market rent.”

This is extremely simple and can go into effect the day after Congress passes

the rule change.

Judges or the court officers handling a f

oreclosure would be required to ask the homeowner whether they want to stay in their house as a renter.

If they say yes, there would be an appraisal of the market rent of the home, and the homeowner would then have the option to stay in the house for a substantial period of time (e.g. 10 years), paying the market rent.

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