Researchers Find Landlords More Likely to Defer Maintenance and Offer Less Concessions in Marginalized Communities

Date Published: 
October 5th, 2021

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies recently published a paper synthesizing two national surveys conducted between February and April 2021 designed to explore the pandemic’s impact across different types of landlords, properties and rental markets.

In addition to reviewing the differences among profiled landlords during the pandemic, the paper summarizes that while the pandemic’s financial consequences have been disproportionately borne by the nation’s renters, landlords of properties in low-income areas and in communities of color were more likely to defer maintenance and less likely to offer concessions to delinquent tenants. According to the research, “Among properties with tenants behind on 2020 rent, those in neighborhoods with income below the city-wide median were more likely (relative to those in neighborhoods with above-median income) to experience deferred maintenance (42 versus 37 percent), have tenants facing evictions (19 versus 14 percent), and have tenants charged late rent fees (15 versus 10 percent). Landlords were also more likely to miss at least one mortgage, property tax, and/or utility payment at properties in these neighborhoods (26 versus 21 percent).

Researchers warn that such inequitable responses across different communities and racial and ethnic groups could have “significant consequences that could exacerbate disparities.” The report suggests an urgent need to scale the rollout and reach of available aid along with the implementation of a broader array of eviction diversion and prevention policies to address such inequities.

Click here to review the full paper.  

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