by Brian Wojcik


ental housing providers have all experienced (or will eventually) the unfortunate predicament of having to evict a renter. Those unfortunate events are complex and costly, with $48 billion in losses filed annually by independent investor housing providers according to IRS data. While it ultimately comes down to a business decision done typically after months of notices, cajoling and bargaining, the cliché of the rich greedy property owner heartlessly kicking a family to the curb pervades the minds of the public. In reality, the “evil rich landlord that victimizes the poor tenant” meme is deceptive, yet it remains the majority public opinion nationally and it continues to gain strength. As well-intentioned as 90 years of recycled and rebranded housing policy may be, the very government housing assistance programs designed to provide safe, low-cost rental housing can, in fact, create a cycle of poverty for the renter and financial failure for the property owner. These are problems very personal and familiar to me. As a child, my life was unstable due to extreme poverty, which included eviction and

and behaviors of poverty, cannot be imagined or fully understood unless one experiences it.

POVERTYAND CAUSES OFHOUSING-COST BURDENSARE SYSTEMIC The very rules designed to make rental housing safe and affordable for low-income families are disincentives to housing providers. The more red tape, the harder it is to put a new property on the market as a low-cost option for those in poverty. More than 10 million individual investors provide 79 percent of all rentals (Figure 1) with rent priced closest to the need of cost-burdened renters (Figure 2). These market-rate units are non-subsidized purchases in the market and higher quality than government housing; all totaled, structures with fewer than 10 rental units have the lowest-income residents. (2013 American Housing Survey). Suggestions that the government is necessary to provide

multiple moves to avoid eviction. Consequences of poverty led to squalor,

hunger, poor health, lack of education, an addicted father, divorce, abandonment, and a single-parent household. Less visible is the emotional trauma, a sustained 24/7 mental state of destitution wreaks self-perpetuating havoc. Those problems of poverty are complex and not easy to solve. Poverty,

22 | think realty magazine :: april 2020

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