The Memphis Blight Elimination Steering Team is comprised of 30+ non-profits, governmental, and private organizations committed to eliminating the high concentration of blighted properties in Memphis, Tennessee. This group was formed by the signing and ratification of the first of its kind, Memphis Blight Elimination Charter in spring of 2016.
The Code Enforcement Committee of the Blight Elimination Steering Team advocated for the publication of these maps quarterly in response to a 2017 Action Item . This list and map include the property owners that accumulated the highest number of code violations in the last quarter of 2018.
The first “Top 10” list was released in April of 2018 and included the first quarter of that year. A list was released for every quarter in 2018 and will continue to be released at that rate in 2019. All previous lists can be found here.
To raise awareness and support for systemic changes around abandoned property, absentee owners, and neighborhood revitalization. Most of all, we want it to start a conversation around what we as a Memphis community could be doing differently. We all have a part to play in transforming and preserving our city’s neighborhoods.
Recently the Top 10 list was incorporated into a closer investigative look by the Washington Post (see summary below), into the private equity investment firm that almost always is near the top of our lists, Cerberus Capital.
The list and map are comprised of publicly available data aggregated in the local community data portal, Memphis Property Hub. It uses Code Enforcement violation data provided monthly and cross-references the location of the violation with county assessor data to identify the corresponding parcel.
Eviction filings and code complaints: What happened when a private equity firm became one city’s biggest homeowner by Todd C. Frankel & Dan Keating
The Washington Post, December 25, 2018
Last December The Washington Post ran an investigative report on New York private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which is the largest owner of single-family homes in Memphis, with nearly 1,800 houses rented out to thousands of residents.
Through its property manager FirstKey Homes, the report says it uses unusually aggressive tactics to recover late rent. It “files for eviction at twice the rate of other rental home property managers in the Memphis area and threatens renters with removal at the highest rate among the area’s large management firms.”
The over 27,000 eviction filings made by FirstKey between Sept 2015 and Oct 2018 were highly concentrated in minority areas.They also rack up on average one to two new property code violations per day.
Memphis Public Works Director Robert Knecht said “They don’t care. They are just here to lease their properties without consequence.”