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

View down New York City alleyway at nighttime

Red Cities, Blue Cities, and Crime

Homicides rose across the nation in 2020 and 2021. But did they rise equally in all cities, or was the situation worse in some than in others?

March 12, 2023 - Michael Lewyn

babyt Boomer Homeowners

The Shifting Boomer Bulge: More Bad News for America’s Housing Crisis?

In the first of a two-part series, PlaceMakers’ Ben Brown interviews housing guru Arthur C. Nelson on the sweeping demographic changes complicating the housing market.

March 12, 2023 - PlaceShakers and NewsMakers

Yellow on black "Expect Delays" traffic sign

A Serious Critique of Congestion Costs and Induced Vehicle Travel Impacts

Some highway advocates continue to claim that roadway expansions are justified to reduce traffic congestion. That's not what the research shows. It's time to stop obsessing over congestion and instead strive for efficient accessibility.

March 14, 2023 - Todd Litman

Washington D.C. Protest

IPCC Report: The World Is Running Out of Time on Climate Change

The planet is not doing enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent report published by the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

March 20 - International Panel on Climate Change

A view of the Boise skyline, across tress int he foreground. The state capitol is visible amongst other office buildings.

Skyline-Defining High-Rise Potentially Coming to Boise

A rendering making the rounds in Boise depicts a 40-story apartment building that would be taller than all other buildings in one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.

March 20 - Boise Dev

Interior of Tesla car with driver holding hands off wheel in 'full self-driving' mode

Buttigieg: Tesla ‘Autopilot’ Marketing ‘A Concern’

The USDOT secretary says marketing doesn’t fall under his department’s investigative authority, but expressed disapproval of language that implies autonomous operation.

March 20 - Bloomberg

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.