Small Multifamily Properties Reviewed in New Report

New study from Terner Center for Housing Innovation dives into the makeup of small rental housing operators.

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A new report from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley looks to better understand multifamily housing and the businesses it operates. "The Ownership and Management of Small Multifamily Rental Properties: New Insights on an Overlooked Part of the Rental Market" sheds more light on smaller owners and managers of properties with five to 49 units.

The findings included characteristics of the owners of rental properties, resident screening and selection processes, rent-setting practices and missed rent policies among other items.

Ownership was a mixed bag from individuals holding LLCs to limited partnerships to an individual owner and everywhere in between. Nearly a third of owners were retirees, and 55% of the properties in the study had owners living less than eight miles away. Nearly half were managed by the property owner.

About 10% of owner gross income came from rents in 2020, while more than a fifth relied on rents for at least 75% of their income. Just over 70% of owners said they acquired the property because of rental income, while about 40% said it was for retirement.

One notable finding is that 45% of owners applied or helped residents apply for rental assistance during the pandemic. And 58% of owners reported an increase in nonpayment of rent during the pandemic.