Report Says Renters In Black Neighborhoods Are More Likely to be Evicted by Corporate Landlords

A newly published report by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project says that two property companies owned by major private equity firm Pretium Partners are more likely to evict tenants in majority Black neighborhoods rather than communities that are primarily white.

According to the report “PANDEMIC EVICTOR: Don Mullen’s Pretium Partners Files to Evict Black Renters, Collects Billions From Investors,” Progress Residential and Front Yard Residential, both owned by Pretium Partners, filed 500 evictions in the first 10 weeks of 2021.

Around 246 of the evictions were filed in two counties of metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia: Dekalb and Clayton counties. Both areas have majority Black populations. Since the start of 2021, the companies have filed to evict 12 percent of the companies’ renters in DeKalb County, where 55 % of residents are Black. In Clayton County, 73 percent of residents are Black, and the companies have filed to evict 9.5 percent of the renters. While in Seminole and Polk counties in Florida, the companies have filed to evict a smaller number of residents in the mostly white neighborhoods. In Seminole County, which has only have 15 percent Black, the company filed to evict 1.1 percent of its renters, while in Polk County, which is about 19 percent Black, the companies filed to evict 2.4 percent of renters.

“The company has filed to evict more than a thousand residents since last September,” Jim Baker, the executive director of the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, told NPR. The project tracks corporate landlords.

Baker said the racially disparate numbers  were “incredibly disturbing.” Adding that the company has filed to evict 20 percent of its residents in mostly Black counties in Georgia

Pretium Partners is the second-largest owner and operator of single-family rental homes in the United States owning about 55,000 homes and is lead by former Goldman Sachs partner Don Mullen.

The number of evictions filed by companies owned by the firm continues to grow although the CDC’s eviction moratorium amid the pandemic. The moratorium was extended in September but will expire on June 30. According to court documents, Pretium called the moratorium an “unconstitutional overreach.” Progress Residential and Front Yard Residential have filed to evict 1,300 renters since the pandemic started.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced on March 29 that they would investigate evictions by “private equity firms” and “major multistate landlords,” amid reports that people were forced from their homes “despite the government prohibitions.”

Shanika Henderson, a Front Yard resident who lives with water and mold issues said, “While HavenBrook Homes has never come out to make any repairs, and hasn’t answered any of my phone calls, they still make sure to send out a reminder at the start of every month to pay rent. In fact, when the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, they sent me a few notices that they would not be carrying out any repairs unless they were very urgent, but they still wanted to remind us to pay our rent on time.”

Orangeburg Massacre (1968)

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