Who am I?
My name is Lena Wright, a student attending Capital Community College pursuing a degree in General Studies. I am involved in doing research for the Absentee Landlord Project through the Action Lab for Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA). This is a responsibility I did not take lightly. I have had some experience and exposure as a volunteer arbitrator in landlord and tenant disputes for non-payment of rent, evictions, and destruction of properties. I selected and reviewed files from the courthouse for decision making. This introduced me to the kind of research necessary for the SINA Research Project.
What is the Research?
Our project sought to answer these specific research questions:
- How many 2 to 3- family properties in the South End of Hartford are owned by absentee landlords?
- Are absentee-owned properties cared for differently than owner-occupied properties?
Who is Our Community Partner?
This research was done in response to a request from S.I.N.A. (Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance) to extract valuable data that will ultimately shape their upcoming buying choices. S.I.N.A. is a partnership between Children’s Medical Center, Hartford Hospital and Trinity College. SINA primarily develops affordable housing, for both renters and homeowners, while advocating for community interests and economic development throughout Hartford’s South End. They also provide grants and scholarships to organizations and individuals in the neighborhood they serve. SINA alliances have been in existence over forty years renovating neighborhoods and revitalizing communities. Their mission is achieved by giving the residents who are renters, and who aspire to be homeowners, the opportunity to own by transforming the targeted areas: Barry Square, Behind the Rocks, and Frog Hollow.
SINA approached our Action Lab team to investigate the prevalence of absentee landlords in the South End. They were specifically interested in two- and three- family houses.
Targeted communities included Barry Square, Behind the Rocks, and Frog Hollow neighborhoods. The research aimed to showcase a comparison of the conditions of owner occupied properties versus those with absentee landlords. SINA is interested in whether it makes strategic sense to buy and renovate the dilapidated absentee-owned properties in order to sell them to owner-occupants.