How Ownership Structure Impacts Eviction Rates

A new study from Boston reveals that large landlords, who are less likely to live near their tenants, execute far more eviction filings than smaller property owners.

2 minute read

February 5, 2023, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View of Boston from Bunker Hill with statue in foreground

Sean Pavone / Boston, Massachusetts

A new study using data from Boston analyzes how the characteristics of different landlords impact their actions when it comes to evicting tenants. The study focuses on small versus large landlords, defined as those owning 15 or more properties—a demographic that makes up less than 1 percent of property owners but owns over one third of rental units in Boston. Henry Gomory describes the study’s key findings in Housing Matters.

The study reveals that “Large landlords filed evictions 186 percent more often and medium landlords filed 55 percent more often than small landlords.” This is driven by ownership structure, Gomory explains. “Filing rates before a sale were similar across properties, but filing rates for buildings bought by large owners quadrupled in the sale year and then remained higher than before.” The authors attribute this in part to the relationships between landlords and tenants. “Opportunities for informal decisionmaking made it less likely for small landlords to file an eviction; arms-length relationships with tenants and bureaucratic management practices allowed evictions from large landlords to be more instrumental.”

On the flip side, “Filings by large landlords had 68 percent lower odds of ending in execution compared with small-landlord filings.” However, “Even though each filing by a large landlord was less likely to reach execution, large landlords filed so often they still executed at higher rates than small owners.”

The study suggests promoting “policies that incentivize capital investment by local residents and stakeholders, whose social relations in the community may be a more effective strategy for maintaining housing affordability.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2023 in Housing Matters

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

"It's The Climate" sign over street in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan

Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.

February 18, 2024 - The Daily Yonder

Front view of stone home with severe tornado damage and portions of roof ripped off.

10 States Where Insurance Costs Impact Housing Affordability

Insurance companies are responding to the increasing frequency and intensity of severe weather events caused by climate change by raising home insurance premiums in high-risk states, adding another hurdle to housing affordability in the U.S.

3 hours ago - Fox Business

View of small pedestrian bridge in Prescott Preserve Palm Springs, California with palm tree oasis and mountains in background.

Rewilding the Golf Course

How former golf courses are being transformed from manicured lawns to vibrant habitats.

4 hours ago - The New York Times

Red Los Angeles Fire Department fire truck parked on pier in San Pedro, California at Port of Los Angeles.

Safe Streets Ballot Measure Runs Into Unexpected Opposition

Los Angeles's Measure HLA would compel the city to make serious upgrades for walking, biking, and other forms of active transportation, all in the name of saving lives. Its biggest opponent: the firefighters union.

5 hours ago - California Planning & Development Report

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.