Why single-family rental homes became a magnet for corporate landlords

Leasing Lifestyle: Jennifer Paul St. Denis thought she had found the perfect single-family rental and landlord. A mother of two from Marietta, Georgia, St. Denis had been looking for a new home last summer after separating from her husband.

Her search didn’t take her far. After spotting an ad from a company called Waypoint, she discovered they had a “super-cute” two-story home with a yard and back porch a few blocks away. At $1,449 a month, it was even within her budget.

St. Denis loved staying in the same neighborhood, but, just as importantly, she appreciated the security that came with her new landlord. Waypoint is one of a new breed of large-scale corporate landlords heavily invested in the single-family rental market. (Waypoint has since merged with Invitation Homes. At the time St. Denis moved in, the company had a multi-state portfolio of more than 30,000 homes.)

“Being a [newly] single mom trying to find a good place for my kids, it was appealing to have a company with the staff and resources to solve problems I didn’t have time to address,” she says.

That impression quickly changed after a storm hit this spring.

Just after midnight on Friday, March 23, a severe storm uprooted a tree that crushed St. Denis’s back porch and sent a branch through the roof above her 10-year-old daughter’s room. St. Denis’s 6-year-old son, awakened by the storm, started screaming, “Mommy, our house is falling down!”

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