Report Series: Tools for Tackling Corporate Landlords

This report series uplifts state and local policy options for mitigating the impact of private equity and other institutional investors on housing affordability and renters’ rights:

PART 1: Landlord Registries, Licensing, and Proactive Inspections

PART 2: Challenging State Preemption of Local Affordable Housing Initiatives 

PART 3: Combatting Consolidation Through Pro-Competitive Policy Reforms

PART 1: Landlord Registries, Licensing, and Proactive Inspections examines the effectiveness of landlord registries, licensing, and proactive inspections in regulating corporate landlords. It emphasizes the need for increased transparency in identifying patterns of behavior across a landlord’s entire portfolio and highlights the potential for licensing requirements to proactively address widespread and recurring habitability issues and consolidation of ownership.

With at least 1.6 million housing units in the United States owned by private equity, it is clear that government intervention is needed to keep people in safe, affordable, and accessible housing. Although regulating corporate landlords can be difficult, this report showcases examples of successful past measures and underutilized legislative opportunities that can be deployed to mitigate the harmful effects of increased corporate ownership.

Read the first report here.

Part 2: Challenging State Preemption of Local Affordable Housing Initiatives explains how state preemption functions to thwart local efforts to protect individuals, tenants and prospective homebuyers alike, from corporate housing consolidation. The report highlights the following key points:

  • State governments have moved to preempt local initiatives to combat the nation’s housing crises.
  • Researchers found that efforts to protect citizens from pandemic related housing issues by local governments in states like California, Florida, and Illinois were stymied to a varying degree depending on the level of state preemption employed.
  • Passing state legislation to abrogate state preemption of local issues like income non-discrimination, inclusionary zoning, and rent control is key to winning housing policy victories at the local level.
  • To move policy at the state level, it is necessary to organize powerful, reliable constituencies that will compel politicians to make concessions on preemption and ultimately hold them accountable.

Part 3: Combatting Consolidation Through Pro-Competitive Policy Reforms focuses on combating real estate consolidation through pro-competitive policy reforms, portfolio caps, transfer taxes, and right of first refusal legislation. The report highlights bills from around the country that could help slow runaway acquisition of housing by private equity and related large landlords.

Among the policies highlighted in the report are: 

  • The Home Ownership Market Manipulation Act in North Carolina, which sought to place caps on the number of single family properties a single landlord can own in some areas; 
  • A Minnesota ban on rental property conversions, meant to stabilize the supply of housing and lower costs for consumers, 
  • The Corporate Landlord Accountability Act in California, which would prevent corporations from buying bundles of foreclosed, under-valuedproperties only to sell or rent them at inflated rates; and,
  • The Stop Predatory Investing Act – introduced in the United States Senate by Senator Sherrod Brown – would prevent investors who own 50 or more single-family rental units from claiming interest or depreciation tax deductions on those units. 

Read the third report here.

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