Leases as Forms

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (forthcoming 2022)

U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 21-11

49 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021 Last revised: 6 Jan 2022

See all articles by David A. Hoffman

David A. Hoffman

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Anton Strezhnev

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science

Date Written: December 20, 2021

Abstract

We offer the first large scale descriptive study of residential leases, based on a novel dataset of  170,000 residential leases filed in support of over  200,000 Philadelphia eviction proceedings from 2005 through 2019. These leases are highly likely to contain unenforceable terms, and their pro-landlord tilt has increased sharply over time. Matching leases with individual tenant characteristics, and to 16,261 unique owner-landlords, we show that unenforceable terms are likely to be associated with more expensive leaseholds in richer, whiter parts of the city. This result is linked to particular landlords’ growing adoption of shared forms, originally created by non-profit landlord associations, and more recently available online for a nominal fee. Generally, such shared form leases contain worse rules for tenants than the proprietary leases they replace. Over time, it has become easier and cheaper for landlords to adopt such common forms, meaning that access to justice for landlords strips tenants of rights.

Keywords: leases, contracts, consumer contracts, forms, innovation, geography, drafting costs, evictions, landlords, philadelphia

JEL Classification: k12, k11, r3, r31

Suggested Citation

Hoffman, David A. and Strezhnev, Anton, Leases as Forms (December 20, 2021). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (forthcoming 2022), U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 21-11, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3786326 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3786326

David A. Hoffman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Anton Strezhnev

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.antonstrezhnev.com

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