Landlords and Access to Opportunity
73 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2019 Last revised: 2 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 21, 2019
Landlords in high-opportunity neighborhoods screen out tenants using vouchers. In our correspondence experiment, signaling voucher status cuts landlord responses in half. This voucher penalty increases with posted rent and varies little with signals of tenant quality and race. We repeat the experiment after a policy change and test how landlords respond to raising voucher payment limits by $450 per month in high-rent neighborhoods. Most landlords do not change their screening behavior; those who do respond are few and operate at small scale. Our results suggest a successful, systematic policy of moving to opportunity would require more direct engagement with landlords.
Note: First version circulated under the title “Can Landlords Be Paid to Stop Avoiding Voucher Tenants?”.
Keywords: Landlord, Opportunity Neighborhood, Housing Choice Voucher, Mobility, Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR)
JEL Classification: I38, R21, R23, R31, J15, H30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation