Trump issues executive order on affordable housing, eliminating regulations

The order establishes a council to study ‘overly burdensome regulatory barriers’
The council will seek ways to reduce overly burdensome regulations on housing. (Photo: Joe Sohm, Dreamstime)

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday establishing a two-year council to identify regulations that artificially increase the cost of housing development and find ways to improve data available to public and private researchers. The council will also evaluate the effect of regulations on affordable housing specifically.

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“It shall be the policy of my administration to work with federal, state, local, tribal and private sector leaders to address, reduce and remove the multitude of overly burdensome regulatory barriers that artificially raise the cost of housing development and help to cause the lack of housing supply,” according to the order.

Council members will solicit feedback from federal, state, local and tribal government officials, as well as private stakeholders, to determine laws and regulations that inflate costs and inhibit building.

The order noted that in 2017, approximately 18 million people spent more than half of their incomes on housing, while the percentage of people spending that much on rent increased by nearly 45% between 2001 and 2017.

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The order called regulatory barriers the “leading factor in the growth of housing prices across metropolitan areas in the United States.” Among the regulations cited specifically in the order are:

  • “overly restrictive zoning and growth management controls;
  • rent controls;
  • cumbersome building and rehabilitation codes;
  • excessive energy and water efficiency mandates;
  • unreasonable maximum-density allowances;
  • historic preservation requirements;
  • overly burdensome wetland or environmental regulations;
  • outdated manufactured-housing regulations and restrictions;
  • undue parking requirements;
  • cumbersome and time-consuming permitting and review procedures;
  • tax policies that discourage investment or reinvestment;
  • overly complex labor requirements; and
  • inordinate impact or developer fees.”

The council is tasked with providing a report on its findings by June 25, 2020, and will be chaired by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson or his designee. The order calls for the council to disband in 2021.

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