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Credit: Matthew Kam for ProPublica

America’s New Landlord: Private Equity

How has the rental housing market changed since the 2008 Great Recession? Join us to learn how private equity and shadow algorithms are reshaping housing across America.

In partnership with The Markup.

Rent has nearly doubled in many American cities over the past decade, despite stagnant wages and amid a nationwide housing shortage. What’s responsible for putting today’s renters in a financial bind? One answer is private equity.

During the 2008 financial crisis, when banks foreclosed on the homes of millions of Americans, private equity money bought up properties at bargain prices. Today, private equity is one of the biggest landlords in urban America — targeting multifamily apartment buildings and often using aggressive tactics, such as increasing rent or neglecting upkeep, to squeeze out profits before selling the buildings at a higher price.

Another hidden force reshaping the rental housing market is tenant screening algorithms, which landlords increasingly rely on to help them select renters and determine rent prices. But how these algorithms work is unclear and, for those whose tenant applications are denied, getting answers is nearly impossible.

At this event, we will examine how private equity and shadow algorithms are contributing to the nationwide affordable housing crisis, explore potential pathways to change from a policy perspective and address tenants’ rights. Our speakers include:

  • Heather Vogell, reporter, ProPublica
  • Jenny Schuetz, senior fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Lauren Kirchner, investigative reporter, The Markup
  • Caitlin Sugrue Walter, vice president of research, National Multifamily Housing Council
  • Rasheedah Phillips, director of housing, PolicyLink
  • Perla Trevizo, reporter, ProPublica-Texas Tribune investigative unit (moderator)

This event has ended.