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Urban Landlords and the Housing Choice Voucher Program: A Research Report



Release Date: 
May 2018 (54 pages)
Posted Date:   
May 30, 2018



This study investigates the role of landlords in low-rent housing markets in Baltimore, Cleveland, and Dallas and the role landlords play in shaping the residential experience of low- and moderate-income renters, especially households in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. The study is based on interviews and observations of a sample of 127 landlords and property managers, seventy-three percent of whom accept housing choice vouchers. The report shows how local rental markets influence landlords’ interest to participate in the HCV program, including: (1) financial motivations (reliable payments); (2) attitudes about housing voucher tenants; and (3) interactions with the public housing authority (PHA). Among landlords who chose not to participate in the HCV program, the primary reasons stated were negative experiences with the program itself, including frustration with the inspection process, general bureaucracy, and disappointment when the PHA did not take the landlord’s side in conflicts between landlord and tenant. The study suggests there are opportunities to recruit landlords into the HCV program by focusing on the things that matter most to them—reliable rent payments and tenants who stay a while, help care for the property, and do not cause damage.