CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As homeowners' associations try to limit rental houses in neighborhoods across the region and renters organize, the single-family rental industry's lobbying group has created its first local chapter in Charlotte.
Tricon Residential, one of the region's largest buyers of homes that are turned into single-family rentals, explained on a recent earnings call an effort by the company and NRHC members to win hearts and minds at the local level "...to talk to the city councilmen, the mayors, to really tell them our side of the story."
The creation of the local chapter comes as WCNC Charlotte and others have reported in-depth on the rise in corporate landlords. Critics have raised concerns about added competition, rising rental costs and a change in the owner-occupied landscape.
Action NC Housing Justice Organizer Jessica Maria Moreno said she's not surprised the industry group is starting in Charlotte, especially considering advocates here have raised concerns about overdue repairs, unreachable out-of-state landlords and displacement.
"When tenants are organized, it's a threat to the bottom line," she said. "I'm glad that they're here, because hopefully, our tenants can now talk directly with them," she said.
"The National Rental Home Council is a trade association dedicated to supporting the single-family rental industry and its residents," Executive Director David Howard said in a statement. "Many NRHC members are active members of the community in North Carolina, and we believe that a local NRHC chapter will provide a venue for members to get together, exchange views, and coordinate continuing education courses and social activities."
Howard previously told WCNC Charlotte there was no data or evidence "to support the contention that single-family rental home companies do anything but provide a positive housing option for consumers." His words came in response to a WCNC Charlotte investigation that identified thousands of homes, condos and townhouses acquired by single-family rental investment companies over the course of a year. Howard described those SFRs as a small presence that is not impacting home prices, rental rates or competition.
"They're here to make sure that they are in the ears of our city council and our county commission because our tenants are definitely present uplifting their stories," she said. "There's something really wrong here and I know that they see it."
The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners approved $500,000 in this year's budget to conduct more research on corporate-owned rentals and their impact on residents. According to county research, large corporations made up nearly a third of all home sales in Charlotte in the fourth quarter of 2021, a 93% increase from the year prior.
The NRHC is expected to kick off its new chapter later this month.
WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.