United States
December 2022
US Market Report

Stop Wall Street Landlords Act of 2022 takes on automated institutional investors

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The Stop Wall Street Landlords Act of 2022 is a new legislative effort to “deter future institutional investments” in single-family homes while backlash grows against corporate owners.

What are “robot landlords”?

Institutional investors that have automated nearly all of a landlord's or property manager's duties are being referred to as "robot landlords." One article using the term reports that, in many cases, the only human contact a new or existing tenant might have from the company is when a contractor turns up to complete repairs.

But while some tenants say their robot landlords are too detached, resulting in miscommunication over maintenance, others enjoy the speed and convenience of automation and smart home technology. A survey by Rent. revealed that 82% of renters want at least one device in their residence.

Adding to the pressure, institutional investors have also been accused of contributing to the affordable housing crisis by purchasing thousands of starter homes, outbidding prospective homeowners, and raising rent and house prices.

In late October, three California Democrats introduced the Stop Wall Street Landlords Act to curb “profiteering and unfair practices by large corporate landlords” and end “rent gouging”. If passed, the bill would impose a tax on transactions made by investors whose assets exceed $100 million. It would also prohibit government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae from buying up and financing mortgages held by these companies.

Institutional investors, for their part, argue that the root cause of the affordability crisis is the shortage of units, not their modest 1.5% ownership of single-family rental properties in the US.

Good PropTech enables people, it doesn’t replace them

Smaller property managers can still thrive in the single-family rental market, even without legislation to stifle the competition.

In fact, they can leverage the power of automation that enables the people who use it. PayProp prioritizes communication by automating professionally branded invoices, statements, arrears reminders, welcome letters and more. To balance the power of automation, the platform empowers property managers with at-a-glance visibility of platform health, ultimate approval rights of all platform transactions, and granular control over staff permissions. That way, property managers can safely win back time and use it to build relationships with clients and provide a personal service that giant robot landlords just can’t replicate.

More SFR headlines

Big SFR investors flee market while smaller ones step up – GlobeSt

Would-be buyers choose to rent single-family homes instead – NEXT Mortgage Events

Housing affordability is worst on record, data shows – The Real Deal

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