By Cindy Vosper Chetti, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, NMHC
The use of artificial intelligence—or AI—has garnered significant attention in recent years, with policymakers and media outlets addressing it on an almost daily basis. Whether they are touting its beneficial qualities, or warning of its potential pitfalls, it has been at the epicenter of political and social discussions across the nation and has significant implications for housing providers.
NMHC members have been at the forefront of technology deployments that have reshaped business operations, improved housing affordability, and benefited millions of Americans renters.
What Are the Prospects for Federal Action?
Yet the questions raised regarding algorithmic decision making and antitrust law has generated significant interest and prompted both the Administration and Congress to act. At the end of last year, the Administration released an AI Executive Order “to ensure that America leads the way in seizing the promise and managing the risks of [AI].” This prompted Congress to schedule multiple hearings to discuss AI uses and considerations. Further, on January 30, Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Preventing the Algorithmic Facilitation of Rental Housing Cartels Act, which aims to expand antitrust enforcement to cover algorithmic systems used to determine prices for rental housing. While well-intended, the legislation seemingly ignores the fact that existing federal anti-trust and consumer law already prevents adverse outcomes in this space. Additional attempts to restrict technology enabled business operations are misguided and have the potential to worsen, not improve, housing affordability.
Despite the bipartisan attention paid to these issues, to date, no specific legislation has been enacted to curb the use of AI or similar technologies at the federal level. We anticipate that Congress will keep exploring how businesses use algorithms and other emerging technologies and what changes may be necessary to address consumer protection concerns.
What Comes Next?
NMHC is holding countless meetings with congressional and administrative officials to educate policymakers on the importance of this technology in the housing space and illustrate the many ways they are providing significant benefits to property owners and their residents. Click here to read comments NMHC and NAA prepared for a recent Senate Banking Subcommittee hearing entitled, “Artificial Intelligence and Housing: Exploring Promise and Peril.”
- Real Estate Industry Letter to HFSC Urging Support of Respect State Housing Laws Act
- NMHC-NAA Statement for House Financial Services Subcommittee Field Hearing on Status Quo Housing Policy
- Housing Affordability Coalition Letter to Senate in Support of H.R. 7024
- Letter to House Leadership and the House Appropriations Committee on Passage of the ACP Extension Act of 2024
- Letter to Senate Leadership and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Passage of the ACP Extension Act of 2024