Independent Coalition for Our Neighborhoods

Who owns that blighted property? Good luck with that!

Titled “Anonymous Owner, L.L.C.: Why It Has Become So Easy to Hide in the Housing Market”, this article by the NYT explains how blighted property owners can hide from cities, neighbors, and tenants. Neighbors of dilapidated rental property in Springfield are plenty familiar with the fact of unknown property owners, which can be used to avoid being held accountable for deteriorating property and troublesome tenants.

Excerpts from the article:

L.L.C.s shield property owners from personal liability while obscuring their identities. In some cases, so much anonymity also enables money laundering, and it can mean that tenants struggle to hold landlords accountable, that cities fail to fix blight and that researchers can’t answer basic questions about the housing market.

Because one unidentified buyer could be behind many L.L.C.s, it’s hard to know who is acquiring the most property, or which property owners are behind the most code violations or the most evictions. That makes it impossible for city officials to aim scarce resources at the most problematic owners. And it makes it hard for researchers to know, for example, if property has become concentrated among fewer owners.

L.L.C.s are required to list a registered agent who can receive legal and government notifications, but they’re often not required to name the people who financially benefit from the investments.

Read the full story at…