Minneapolis, MN
United States

University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia
Social media handle(s)
@FHFund (Twitter), @FHFundMN (Instagram)

Examined the experience of renters of corporate-owned single-family properties to develop policy recommendations for preserving housing quality and reducing risk of displacement. 

In 2008 and 2009, predatory lending practices targeting BIPOC communities ahead of the foreclosure crisis caused a disproportionate number of families of color to lose their homes. As a result, homeownership rates for these communities have plummeted, and large investment firms have purchased a significant number of foreclosed properties for long-term rental units. BIPOC communities already faced higher rates of eviction and substandard housing conditions, both of which are further worsened by the influx of corporate landlords. Family Housing Fund is an experienced community convener in the Minneapolis area that has led efforts to address the foreclosure crisis and rising eviction rates. They partnered with researchers at the University of Minnesota Center for Regional and Urban Affairs (CURA) and tenant organizers from Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia (IX) on this project.

Family Housing Fund examined the experience of households living in corporate-owned single-family rentals, management and maintenance trends in these properties, and how local leaders should respond to the rise of institutional investor-owners. To do this, Family Housing Fund staff and CURA deployed an online survey to gather data on renter’s interactions with landlords and property managers, rental costs and rent increases, and the quality of units. Postcards with the survey information were mailed to a sample of renters, and IX organizers door-knocked at these addresses to inform renters about the project and encourage them to participate.

Through their research, Family Housing Fund discovered that renters living in properties owned and operated by large-portfolio institutional investors reported negative interactions and poor unit quality at much higher rates than residents of units with owners who own a small number of units. Black and Latinx respondents were more likely to report problematic interactions with management staff and concerns about the safety and health of units. While the size of rent increases was high across the board, 75 percent of tenants renting from large and medium-sized owners reported rent increases, compared to 39 percent of those renting from smaller landlords.

Family Housing Fund will release these findings in a report and is developing policy recommendations in collaboration with the City of Minneapolis. This research will be critical for the city as it develops an anti-displacement strategy, explores a Community Opportunity to Purchase policy, and considers next steps regarding a rent-stabilization strategy. The findings will also be important for developing further policies for tenant protection and out-of-state investor licensing in Minneapolis and other cities facing an influx of investors.