News and blog

Don’t let Blackstone use your money to put Texas tenants at risk, advocates tell investors

February 15, 2024

Citing Blackstone’s history of raising rents and evicting tenants, advocates implore TRS to stop the firm from acquiring SFR company Tricon Residential

At today’s meeting of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), the Private Equity Stakeholder Project (PESP) urged the pension fund to use its power to halt the proposed acquisition of single-family residential (SFR) company Tricon Residential by private equity giant Blackstone. In a public comment at the TRS Board of Trustees meeting, PESP asked TRS to tell Blackstone to halt this deal unless the firm agrees to standards that ensure basic protections for tenants and protect investors from potential headline and reputational risks arising from rent increases, evictions, and other predatory practices.

Blackstone, which is already the largest landlord in the U.S. and the world, announced last month that it planned to get even bigger by acquiring Tricon, which owns and operates 38,000 single-family rental (SFR) properties in the U.S. Blackstone already owns 28,000 SFR homes, and if the acquisition is approved, Blackstone would be the third largest SFR owner in the US.

According to theNational Association of Realtors, institutional investors like Blackstone bought more than 1 out of every 4 single family homes in Texas in 2020 – a higher rate than in any other state. Should Blackstone’s proposed acquisition of Tricon proceed, the private equity giant would increase their stock of SFRs in the Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio metro areas by 200%.

Blackstone’s track record as a corporate landlord leaves much to be desired for its tenants. Properties in Blackstone’s portfolio have seen evictions of tenants, extreme rent increases, and unhygienic conditions in units. Separate investigations by Reuters and the Financial Timesrevealed that tenants in Blackstone-owned homes endured vermin, toxic mold, unclear billing practices, and months-long waits for maintenance. 

As a major investor in Blackstone, PESP is urging TRS to demand that Blackstone improve its treatment of tenants by granting them basic protections. 

“The reputation of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas is at risk because of its exposure to Blackstone’s poor track record as a landlord,” said Jordan Ash, Housing Director at Private Equity Stakeholder Project. “TRS is invested in a firm that is directly contributing to the affordable housing crisis across the country. Blackstone has exemplified its status as a subpar landlord that has filed to evict tenants and hike rents. The firm should not be given the opportunity to expand this bad behavior to tens of thousands of more rentals–including in Texas–through its acquisition of Tricon. We urge TRS to use its influence as one of Blackstone’s largest investors by advocating against this deal until Blackstone cleans up its act.”

You can view the agenda of the TRS Board of Trustees meeting here.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive news and updates from PESP

Click here