Predators in the NYC rental market, with Hannah Levintova from Mother Jones
In this episode, we take a look at the biggest New York City landlords you’ve probably never heard of—private equity-backed owners. These are buildings bought with funds from an entity made up of private investors. The priority for these firms is less about providing stable housing for local communities and more about making money for shareholders.
It's often very difficult to find out who owns a building because they are bought by limited liability companies (LLCs) that can hide ownership details.
Private equity landlords got a foothold in NYC after the Great Recession in 2008 and the number has increased during the pandemic.
A tenant's first experience of a change in ownership is often a deterioration of services with leaks ignored, maintenance delayed, and noisy construction work going on at all hours. There are often attempts to move lower paying tenants out in favor of those who'll pay higher rents.
Investigative reporter Hannah Levintova has taken a deep dive into this topic for the national publication Mother Jones. On the podcast Levintova talks to host Emily Myers about what she uncovered during her reporting on this topic in NYC, the complicated structure of these entities, and how tenants can fight back.
Levintova’s work on this topic includes the following articles: "Real Estate Predators Tried to Cash In on the Pandemic. Then Tenants Fought Back" and "Everything Everywhere All at Once: How Private Equity Rules Your World."
Public data on who owns what in NYC can be found here: Who owns what in NYC? and via the Automated City Register Information System, known as ACRIS.
For help getting your apartment's rent history, contact New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal's rent administration office at 718-739-6400 or submit a question online.
The Brick Underground podcast explores every aspect of buying, selling, and renting in NYC so you can better navigate the market, find a deal, make sense of the legal jargon, and stay one step ahead of the competition.
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