Over the past few years, the multifamily market has made significant strides in adopting practices and providing services that strengthen the landlord-tenant relationship and support renters’ well-being. Whether it’s a credit-building program – improving the credit score of tens of thousands of renters – or tools for financial empowerment, multifamily operators have worked to adopt many different resident-centered housing features. Last year, Freddie Mac began cataloging many of these efforts with a new resource for borrowers on our website

The initial set of catalogued features includes: 

Building Credit Through Rent Reporting

  • Owners and operators can enroll their properties in Credit Building through any of our participating rent-reporting vendors, ultimately helping improve or establish renters credit scores, as well as improve property operating income through more stable collections and lower turnover.

Supporting Renters Financial Capabilities 

  • Financial education platforms empower renters with the tools to understand budgeting, saving, investing, debt management and more. We encourage housing providers to explore such platforms and offer them to residents, including our free financial capabilities resource, Freddie Mac CreditSmart®.

Offering Rental Payment Date Flexibility 

  • Most lease agreements provide a grace period to renters during which the renter will not incur a penalty for a late rent payment. Our nationwide survey of tenant protections found that the majority of states require a grace period. This flexibility can often be offered at little cost to property owners, but it can be invaluable to renters who are managing their income amongst a variety of monthly bills and pay dates.

Offering Alternative Security Deposits 

  • Instead of requiring a large upfront payment, there are alternative options that provide landlords with the funds to cover costs incurred due to damages but offer more flexibility to renters, including recoupment, insurance, installments and loans.

Integrating Health and Wellness Services 

  • Whether it’s maintaining a healthy living environment or offering health services through telehealth programs or on-site clinics, there are several ways property owners are integrating health and wellness into their housing; often in partnership with local organizations.

Connecting Renters to Banking Services 

  • According to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. survey, it’s estimated that nearly 6 million U.S. households don’t have a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union. Some ways properties can support the financial stability of “unbanked” renters is by connecting them to traditional financial resources, accepting rent payments through a local retailer, leveraging local nonprofit support or partnering with firms that offer banking innovations.

Our goal in publishing this resource is to provide a centralized location for ideas and examples of innovations that can benefit renters. We encourage you to evaluate the fees, costs and overall benefits these innovations may have for your property and renters. With the help of our Optigo® network, we plan to spread more awareness of these resident-centered housing opportunities throughout the year. 

If you know of other innovations that have been used to provide flexibilities, financial opportunity building or other support for renters, please reach out to us. We welcome your feedback and ideas as we work to build out these resources.