Leasing Lifestyle: Families Share Horror Stories of One of Arizona’s Largest Landlords.
Kathy and Kim Suszczewicz thought they would gain peace of mind when they moved into a three-bedroom rental home in a neat north Phoenix neighborhood in 2016.
The family was rebuilding from losing their life savings, car and house after Kim was diagnosed with an aggressive blood cancer that required years of treatment and lost his engineering job.
Kathy Suszczewicz is a full-time caregiver to both her husband and their daughter Addie, who has developmental disabilities. Kathy had struggled to find a place to live that was affordable, wheelchair accessible and in their 17-year-old’s school district.
Even though the family had to pay a fee to the rental company, now known as Invitation Homes, just to tour the house, it was one of only two homes they could find to match their needs.
“I knew we had to jump on it quick,” Suszczewicz, 53, said. “It was a pleasant neighborhood. I didn’t think there was too much risk.”
But nearly two years after signing the lease, the Suszczewiczes say they regret moving in at all.
Long-delayed repairs, annual rent increases and nearly-impossible-to-reach staff have soured the family on their Wall Street-backed landlord.
Invitation Homes is America’s largest owner of single-family rental homes, with nearly 7,500 properties in Arizona alone.
“If anybody is talking about finding a rental, I always say, ‘Stay away (from Invitation Homes). Don’t even bother with it,” Suszczewicz said.
When private-equity investors began snatching up tens of thousands of foreclosure homes at bargain prices after the 2008 housing crash, metro Phoenix was one of the first areas in the country to become a hotbed of corporate home rentals.
Since then, Invitation Homes has been targeted by multiple tenant lawsuits across the country, including a proposed class-action suit filed in California in May over poor maintenance, excessive rental fees and evictions.
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