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Class-Monopoly Markets and Eviction in Richmond, Virginia

Authors: Benjamin Teresa*, Virginia Commonwealth University, Kathryn Howell, Virginia Commonwealth University
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: eviction, housing, class-monopoly rent
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper examines the relationship between housing market segmentation and eviction in Richmond, Virginia. Historical patterns of racial and class segregation in urban regions define segmented housing markets and produce differential housing outcomes for tenants. Property owners and financial institutions produce segmented housing submarkets by structuring scarcity within restricted geographical areas, which creates the conditions for capturing absolute or class-monopoly rent. In this paper, we examine what actors produce housing segmentation and with what practices, and how tenants navigate and are corralled into different submarkets. We identify high-evicting market submarkets in Richmond through describing their geography and ownership structures, and narrate the pathways and lived experiences of tenants in those submarkets. To do so, we rely on an original multifamily building database that we created using city assessor data, recorder of deeds records, court eviction filings, and city housing code violation data. We pair this dataset with qualitative interviews with tenants who have experienced at least one eviction. Our findings confirm a highly segmented housing market in Richmond, which not only restricts non-white, poor and working class tenants to the poorest quality and most unstable housing submarkets but also directs them into progressively poorer quality housing until their eviction records and credit scores are used by landlords to effectively shut them out of the private rental market. Short-term housing such as motels, informal housing, and homelessness become the submarkets of last resort.

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