Stephen Sills is the director of The Center for Housing and Community Studies at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. He says there is plenty of housing in Greensboro, but the problem is it is not affordable. The hunt for affordable housing has created a market where there is no incentive for landlords to work with tenants. If someone is evicted, there is a steady stream of people behind him.
Sills joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the affordable housing crisis in Greensboro and how it may be spreading to cities like Rocky Mount. Sills has spoken to landlords and those who have been evicted, and he is working with the court system, researchers and advocates to create solutions.
These cities are seeing the impact of the differential between income and rent. While San Franciscos and Raleigh-Durhams have had a healthy increase since the economic recession in their median incomes due to [a] new tech industry and 21st century jobs being placed there, small and medium-size towns really haven’t had that rebound yet.
How Greensboro stacks up against the national averages:
Incomes in Greensboro have gone up only about 5 percent where nationally they’ve gone up 10 percent in the last three years. At that same time, the amount of properties available – especially in the affordable and lower income areas – have not increased, and rents have increased about 38 percent in Greensboro.
On how landlords abuse the legal system:
We also found that some landlords were using the eviction process as a form of collection. Every month a tenant would end up in court for being five days late, six days late on the rent. This would cause them to incur additional fees [of] $200 to $300 … To cover the court cost and cost to the landlord. And that would put them behind in the next month. And this would continue for months … For some [landlords] it’s a tenant they would like to remove from the property. For others it really is an economic strategy. Property managers who have a few units see this as a way to balance their books.