Washington D.C. — Government watchdog Accountable.US released a new analysis finding several private equity and investment firms that have aggressively bought up single-family homes since the 2008 Financial Crisis have spent nearly $12 million lobbying against housing reforms that would impact their bottom lines, while the largest publicly traded firms have seen their real estate investment funds grow dramatically since the start of the pandemic. Tenants of these corporate landlords have reported feeling “stuck in homes they don’t own,” as they suffer from inadequate maintenance and unnecessary fees in order to maximize corporate profits. The report comes as the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations holds a hearing today, ‘Where Have All the Houses Gone? Private Equity, Single Family Rentals, and America’s Neighborhood’.
The same private equity firms that hoarded single family homes in the wake of the financial crisis are now fueling an affordable housing crisis – spending millions lobbying against reforms that bring down costs while they tack on needless tenant fees and cut corners on maintenance. It’s yet another way corporate greed is driving up costs for everyday families, and those in Congress who prefer to collect checks from big corporate landlords rather than support affordable housing efforts are every bit as responsible for it."
Liz Zelnick, Accountable.US Economy spokesperson
Accountable.US’ latest report follows its recent analysis of the ten largest publicly traded apartment companies by number of units, which found that they all raised rent prices and collectively saw their total 2021 fiscal year net incomes soar by 57% to nearly $5 billion. The top executives of these same companies also reported that their total compensation in the same period swelled by nearly 23% to over $66.5 million, helping them maintain lavish homes valued at a total of almost $103 million. Accountable.US has documented extensively how pandemic profiteering and corporate greed from the big oil, meatpacking, shipping, retail, clothing, food, trucking and railroad companies are all making inflation and supply chain challenges worse for everyday consumers.
KEY FINDINGS FROM ACCOUNTABLE.US:
- The Blackstone Group—once the “largest landlord for single-family rentals in the world and the largest landlord” in the U.S.—saw its real estate portfolio’s assets under management (AUM) increase 49% to $279.5 billion in FY 2021 and bragged that “rents are growing two to three times the rate of inflation,” after spending over $6.2 million fighting a rent control ballot initiative in California and $60,000 lobbying on federal housing issues since 2020.
- The Carlyle Group—one of the largest publicly traded private equity firms—spent at least $4.35 million lobbying on housing issues since the start of the pandemic, as the firm saw its real estate AUM climb to over $31 billion in Q1 2022.
- Greystar Real Estate Partners—“the largest property manager in the U.S.”—has increased its apartment inventory by 100,000 in two years to over 768,000 units and could grow the number of single-family homes under management to 25,000 in the next five years after spending at least $20,000 lobbying on housing policy.
- Goldman Sachs, which spent over $6.74 million lobbying on housing issues since 2020, backed real estate firm, Fundrise, with a “$300 million credit facility” as the real estate investment firm bought hundreds of single-family homes, including 146 single-family homes in Jacksonville in 2022.
- The American Investment Council—an industry group representing the “country’s leading private equity and growth capital firms—spent at least $760,000 lobbying on housing issues and Build Back Better since 2020 and wrote a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Council in April 2022 opposing a proposal increasing the reporting requirements for funds, including those invested in the real estate market.