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.
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.”
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