Ideas: Fixing the World July/August 2009

Rent Your Own Home

The housing mess is screaming out for a simple but effective solution. Ideally, such a solution would keep underwater homeowners in their homes even after they found themselves unwilling or unable to pay their mortgages; it would stop renters from being evicted from foreclosed homes when they’re up-to-date on their rent; it would slash the number of foreclosure sales, which are driving house prices down nationwide; it would improve the quality of the national housing stock; it would give banks an easy-to-value income stream, instead of an impossible-to-value home, whenever they foreclosed on a property; and it would cost the government nothing. Amazingly, all of this can be done with just one policy: a decree that whenever a bank forecloses on a home, the current occupant has the right to remain in the property indefinitely, simply by paying the fair-market rent. Banks are killing each other by racing to sell their foreclosed houses as quickly as possible, before they fall further in value; this policy would force a cease-fire that would help all of them. It would also put an end to the equally destructive syndrome of soon-to-be-foreclosed-upon homeowners trashing their houses before they’re kicked out. This plan might not single-handedly end the recession. But it would certainly help.

Presented by

Felix Salmon is the finance blogger for Reuters.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Business

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In