Social interactions in the housing market

Doron Shiffer-Sebba’s prize-winning research paper examines the interpersonal dynamics of landlords and tenants.

After studying community land trusts during his master’s program, Doron Shiffer-Sebba turned to a topic with a long history of social complexity—the relationship between landlords and tenants. 

For Rent sign on front gate of a brick apartment building

“I have been consistently excited by the prospect of obtaining new data to address old questions,” says Shiffer-Sebba, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology. “This takes the form of interviewing individuals who aren’t often interviewed, but also using leaked data and administrative records like property tax assessments.”

Shiffer-Sebba’s recent paper, “From Circumstance to Company: Landlord Context and Behaviors Towards Tenants,” was awarded the 2019 Graduate Student Paper Award from the Conflict, Social Action, and Change Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, which was presented to him at a ceremony in New York City in August.

The paper investigates the relationship between “landlord origins”—the ways in which landlords become property owners—and landlord behavior. “The current literature largely treats landlords as a homogenous group,” says Shiffer-Sebba. “At best it differentiates ‘large’ landlords from ‘small’ ones. But my research shows that landlords’ motivation for pursuing rental properties is also important.”

Read more at Omnia.