How Corporate Landlords Harm Community Health



By SAJE Staff

June 18, 2024

 A new report by Human Impact Partners finds that corporate landlords often pursue profit-making strategies that have negative impacts on community health. Corporate Wealth V. Community Health, which SAJE contributed to, looks at nationwide data on housing code violations as well as the experiences of tenants in Los Angeles, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Boulder, Colorado.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Rental Housing Finance Survey, approximately 45% of rental housing units are owned by “institutional investors.” This has created a housing system in which maximizing profit for shareholders is more important than properly maintaining a building or safeguarding the wellbeing of tenants. The report finds that corporate landlords are more likely to:

  • Neglect upkeep, resulting in substandard housing conditions
  • File evictions aggressively
  • Hike up rents and charge ancillary fees
  • Evade taxes
  • Dodge accountability by hiding behind LLC structures
  • Wield vast influence over policy and undermine democracy

The detrimental health effects of these strategies are numerous. Substandard housing is linked to asthma and other respiratory diseases, lead poisoning, skin conditions, injuries, and even death. Eviction threats are linked to poor mental and physical health outcomes, and actual eviction increases the odds of becoming unhoused. Rent gouging may mean residents spend less money on food and sacrifice their medical care; it also increases housing instability, leading to eviction and houselessness. And, when corporate landlords evade taxes, they deprive communities of resources they need to be healthy, such as funding for public education and public health.

The report is accompanied by an action agenda for local governments that want to mitigate the negative health effects of corporate landlords, recommending they:

  • Increase ownership transparency and data access through rental registries and landlord licensing programs
  • Protect tenants from implementing anti-retaliation, anti-harassment, and right-to-organize policies so that they can stay in their homes and exercise their rights
  • Resource public options that are permanently affordable and community-controlled

SAJE endorses all of these actions, and we are working to realize them in Los Angeles through our campaign and policy work. If you want to get involved in SAJE’s corporate landlord campaign, email