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One Charlotte neighborhood is pushing back against Wall Street landlords


Anyone who’s tried to buy a home recently in Charlotte has learned pretty quickly that the market here is tight — like, really tight. Especially for modest starter homes in middle-income and working-class neighborhoods. A recent investigation by the New York Times found this could be tied to a rise in corporate investors snapping up these homes with cash offers and turning them into rentals.

One neighborhood in east Charlotte called Bradfield Farms is doing something about it. After 50% of homes sold there in 2021 and 2022 went to large investors who paid cash, according to the Times, homeowners voted to cap the total number of neighborhood rentals allowed at 25% of all homes.

Sheree Hall, a Bradfield Farms resident who helped with that campaign, joined WFAE's Nick de la Canal to talk about what it's like when Wall Street buys up your block, and what it takes to try and stop that.

Pushing back on Wall Street landlords
After 50 percent of homes sold in Bradfield Farms in 2021 and 2022 went to large investors who paid cash, homeowners there voted to cap the number of neighborhood rentals.

Here are some highlights of the conversation with Hall:

On why neighbors wanted to cap the number of rentals: "If the percentage of rentals got too high in our neighborhood, then that would lower the homeowner majority and we need a 67% vote in order to pass any future amendment changes. That was the primary reason like I said, to be able to protect that right as a homeowner in our neighborhood."

On why she thinks corporate landlords are bad for renters and first-time homebuyers: "I think if you were to take a vote by a lot of the renters nowadays, the majority of them would say that the corporate landlords have made renting very unaffordable ... And yes and outbidding first time home buyers and middle-class people like myself who just couldn't afford to compete with them. So you don't have that kind of money to put down on a home, then what are your other options?"

On ensuring the neighborhood isn't seen as hostile to renters: "I don't want Bradfield Farms to get a reputation for being, you know, not liking renters just having a distaste for renters. And that's not the case at all. Like I said, we just wanted to be able to protect our right as homeowners and prevent these corporate landlords for keep them, from taking over our neighborhood and having too large of a percentage of rentals, which I said would ultimately, we would lose our right to vote on any future amendment changes."

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Updated: October 5, 2023 at 8:40 AM EDT
A stock photo was replaced with a photo provided by the Bradfield Farms neighborhood as this story's lead image.
Nick de la Canal is the host of Weekend Edition on Saturday/Sunday mornings, and a reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal