Research Examines Housing Stability Across Subsidized and Non-Subsidized Properties

An article in Housing Policy Debate, Housing Stability, Evictions, and Subsidized Rental Properties: Evidence from Metro Atlanta, Georgia,” compares eviction rates in subsidized and non-subsidized rental properties across Atlanta’s multifamily housing stock. The researchers find the eviction rate at subsidized properties is 2.8 percentage points lower than at non-subsidized properties, though the effect becomes smaller and statistically insignificant once subsidized senior units are removed from the sample. The eviction rate in senior, subsidized units was 10.7 percentage points lower than the rate for non-senior, market-rate properties.

The researchers compiled a database of addresses with evictions in 2016 in five Metro Atlanta counties. Multifamily properties were identified using tax assessor and real estate data. The researchers determined which properties were receiving subsidies using the National Housing Preservation Database and HUD’s multifamily contract database. No distinction was made across types of subsidies because the overwhelming majority of subsidized units were Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties, making up 85% of multifamily units.

In 2016, 95,000 out of 132,000 eviction filings occurred in multifamily housing. These filings took place across 1,861 multifamily properties, averaging a total of 28 eviction filings per 100 rental units annually. To calculate an eviction rate, the authors removed serial eviction filings from the eviction dataset. The remaining number of filings within a property were divided by the building’s number of rental units. This resulted in an average eviction rate of 16.3 evictions per 100 units. After controlling for variables such as building age, size, location, and neighborhood demographics, subsidized properties had an eviction rate 2.8 percentage points less than nonsubsidized properties.

The researchers also examined eviction rates between senior and non-senior housing, predicting that that low-income seniors are less likely to be evicted, because they are more likely to have a steady monthly income stream, like social security. Non-senior families, on the other hand, may be more susceptible to job loss or income fluctuation. Once senior properties were removed from the sample, non-senior subsidized properties experienced an eviction rate only 1.4 percentage points lower than non-senior market-rate properties, a result that is not statistically significant. Conversely, senior subsidized properties experienced a much lower eviction rate compared to non-senior market-rate properties, a difference of 10.7 percentage points.

The analysis is limited, as household income was not available. Controlling for income in the future could provide a clearer picture of the extent to which subsidized units mitigate evictions, because subsidized units likely contain more low-income renters compared to market-rate units. Further research should also compare eviction rates across different types of subsidies, including Housing Choice Vouchers and LIHTC units, to assess how well these programs foster housing stability among low-income renters.

The report is at: