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10/10/2019 | Organizing for Housing Justice & A Home to Thrive, Holding Wall Street Accountable

New Report Connects Private Equity to California’s Housing Crisis

Earlier this month, CPD, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and Hedge Clippers released a report which showed how corporate landlords are contributing to and profiting from California’s housing crisis. Titled Billionaire Corporate Landlords: Exacerbating California’s Housing Crisis, the report focuses on two of the largest and wealthiest corporate landlords in California: Invitation Homes, which is controlled by The Blackstone Group, one of the largest private equity and asset management firms in the world, and Equity Residential, which is also the third largest apartment owner in the United States. Millions of Californians are rent burdened, or paying over 30% of their income on rent, which often means not having enough money for food or health care and can put people at risk of housing instability, eviction, and homelessness. 

This crisis is particularly acute in low-income communities, which overwhelmingly pay a large portion of their already-small income on housing, and communities of color, who have faced decades of legal and extra-legal residential segregation, housing discrimination, predatory lending, and exclusionary lending practices, such as redlining. Meanwhile, Invitation Homes and Equity Residential report hundreds of millions of dollars in profits while also benefiting from tax loopholes, allowing them to pay less than their fair share of taxes. The report outlines what these tax loopholes look like and also how corporate landlords, like Invitation Homes and Equity Residential, spend millions on lobbying and campaign contributions in order to maintain a rigged system that permits ever-increasing rents, burdening renters and leaving them with few protections.

The report supported ACCE’s successful organizing efforts to pass the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, which caps yearly rent increases to no more than 5% plus inflation and expands protections to 7 million renters. The bill passed the California State Assembly on September 11 and is waiting for Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature, which he has pledged. Read the report here.