Over the last decade, private equity and similar investment firms have bought up growing portions of the US housing market, acquiring apartments, single family homes, and manufactured home communities. Wall Street landlords now own the homes of millions of people throughout the US.
Now, the COVID-19 pandemic, job losses, and closed businesses have devastated low-and moderate-income residents. While residents have been told to stay at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a number of private equity landlords have filed or advanced eviction cases in the last month.
- The Blackstone Group, with $571 billion in assets and tens of thousands of apartments and dozens of manufactured home communities, has recently filed to evict residents in Orlando[i] and Palm Beach Gardens[ii], Florida.
- Starwood Capital and its management company Highmark Residential, with 77,000 apartment units throughout the US, has recently filed to evict a number of residents in Jacksonville, Florida[iii] and Washington, DC.[iv]
- Cerberus Capital Management, which owns single family rental manager FirstKey Homes, and 20,000 single family rental homes throughout the US, has advanced evictions in Georgia[v] and South Florida.[vi] Cerberus has said it has halted new eviction filings during the pandemic.
- Greystar Real Estate Partners, which owns 62,000 apartment units and manages properties with 450,000 apartment units, has recently filed to evict residents in Atlanta, Georgia[vii] and Portland, Oregon.[viii]
The Private Equity Stakeholder Project has begun tracking evictions by private equity landlords. Last month, we released a set of recommendations for private equity managers to protect tenants, workers, patients and others during the COVID-19 pandemic, including halting evictions and waiving late fees for tenants.
[viii] Case # 20LT03728, filed Mar 25, 2020, OREGON JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT – Online Records Search.