Meck County pushes federal action against corporate landlords as families get priced out

CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County leaders are putting pressure on the federal government to get more involved with housing issues on the local level.

Advocates say corporate landlords are driving up the cost of rent for families struggling to find a place to live in the area.

To curb the number of families being forced out of town, the county presented two issues at the National Association of Counties, or NACO.

One asked federal leaders to study how corporate landlords impact the housing market for single-family homes.

The other issue is trying to prevent rental discrimination based on someone’s source of income. For example, someone using a housing voucher.

“It’s not a bad thing to have a mixture,” said County Commissioner Susan Rodriguez-McDowell, District 6. “Just when corporate investors can come in and grab so much of the market share that it drives up the prices for others who are scraping to try to get that down payment.”

The commissioner explained why county leaders want federal attention to this issue.

“We are second in the nation for the highest concentration of investor-owned single-family home purchases,” Rodriguez-McDowell told Channel 9 on the phone. “And that is just a significant barrier to housing affordability and when we’re doing so many things to try to make affordable housing a priority.

“We don’t want to be short-sided. We want to look at the issue from all angles.”

>>Watch Channel 9′s LIVE STREAM wherever you are, at this link

Affordable housing advocates say the increase in corporate-owned properties is leaving Charlotte families priced out of the market.

“One thing is inflation, and another thing is corporate greed,” said Jessica Moreno, housing justice coordinator with Grassroots Organization Action NC. “Peoples rent is going up $300, $250, $150. That’s significant.”

Moreno has been advocating for others about the issue that she and her family know firsthand.

“We had to move to Gastonia,” Moreno said. “We weren’t able to stay in Charlotte and I work in Charlotte. So imagine everyone that it’s touching I’m here fighting for housing and I can’t even live in the city that I work in.”

NACO agreed to advocate for both proposals presented by Mecklenburg County commissioners.

(Watch the video below: South Charlotte residents’ rents skyrocket with no word from landlord, they say)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV