Study reveals corporate landlords own 11% of metro Atlanta’s single-family rental homes

March 2, 2024

Georgia State University researchers unveil the ironclad grip of three corporate giants over a staggering 11% of the city’s rental properties.

As metro Atlanta continues to deal with a housing shortage and high rent, a recent study led by Georgia State University researchers unveils the ironclad grip of three corporate giants over a staggering 11% of the city’s rental properties.

Dr. Taylor Shelton, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences at Georgia State University, along with his collaborator Dr. Eric Seymour of Rutgers University, has shed light on the alarming concentration of single-family rental homes in metro Atlanta.

Keeping distance between tenants and rental companies

Shelton highlighted the layers of intermediaries, including property managers and regional supervisors, which often distance tenants from the decision-making entities, thereby complicating the resolution of issues.

“Layers of interaction that have to happen before you get to the person who’s ultimately making decisions are increased. You have to talk to your property manager,” Shelton said. “Then, the property manager has to talk to their supervisor, who talks to the local or regional manager. Then they have to run things up. It creates this distance where you don’t actually know who your landlord is, so you don’t actually know who to make demands of.”

Atlanta is the largest market for this kind of corporate landlord activity,  according to another study by Shelton and Seymour.

“You have to add up the next two or three largest markets in the U.S. together to have the same amount of corporate landlord investment that Atlanta has,” Shelton said adding that landlords like cheap housing and places that are continuation to grow.

“But the other box that Atlanta checks is that we have very lax tenant protections,” he said.

Shelton and his team have made their investigative methods accessible to the public, aiming to empower communities to scrutinize corporate landlord activity in their respective regions.

“We wanted to democratize this process, enabling anyone with access to relevant data to analyze corporate landlord ownership in their area,” Shelton remarked.

“The hope is that anybody can take this method and replicate it even if you don’t have significant technical skills,” Shelton said. “We wanted to get to the skeleton of the logic of this process so that anyone can do it for anywhere and any company. All you need to have is the right data and then you can go from there.”

13 WMAZ, March 2, 2024

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