Landlords and Access to Opportunity
Hal Martin () and
David Phillips ()
No 201902R, Working Papers from Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
Despite being eligible for use in any neighborhood, housing choice vouchers tend to be redeemed in low-opportunity neighborhoods. This paper investigates how landlords contribute to this outcome and how they respond to efforts to change it. We leverage a policy change in Washington, DC, that increased voucher rental payments only in high-rent neighborhoods. Using two waves of a correspondence experiment that bracket the policy change, we show that most opportunity landlords screen out prospective voucher tenants, and we detect no change in average screening behavior after a $450 per month increase in voucher payments. In lease-up data, however, enough landlords do respond to increased payments to equalize the flow of voucher tenants into high- vs. low-rent neighborhoods. Using tax data and listings from a website specializing in subsidized housing, we characterize a group of marginal opportunity landlords who respond to higher payments. Marginal opportunity landlords are relatively rare, list their units near market rates, operate on a small scale, and negatively select into the voucher program based on hard-to-observe differences in unit quality.
Keywords: Small AreaFair Market Rent; opportunity neighborhood; SAFMR; mobility; landlord; Housing Choice Voucher (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H30 I38 J15 R21 R23 R31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 70 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ure
Note: This is a revision of working paper 19-02, titled "Can Landlords Be Paid to Stop Avoiding Voucher Tenants?”
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https://doi.org/10.26509/frbc-wp-201902r Full text (text/html)
Working Paper: Landlords and Access to Opportunity (2019)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:fip:fedcwq:190201
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