Make Them Pay - Action Center on Race and the Economy

Corporate Landlords Should Cancel Rent, Mortgages, and Utilities for the Duration of the COVID-19 Pandemic

They are sitting on at least $470 billion in handouts and billions in income collectively

The COVID-19 crisis has both exposed and exacerbated racial and wealth inequality in the United States.

As unemployment skyrockets and tens of millions of Americans struggle with a sudden loss of income, many will be unable to pay rents or mortgages, and face eviction or foreclosure, and possible homelessness. Latinx and Black workers have been hit hardest by job losses; recent figures show the Latinx unemployment rate at 18.9%, and the Black unemployment rate at 16.7%, compared to a 14.2% for white Americans.1 These job losses, in addition to historic housing segregation and environmental racism, have contributed to greater risk from COVID-19 for communities of color.2

While so many of us struggle to survive, some of the richest billionaires in the world dominate the residential real estate industry in the United States. These corporate landlords are companies owned by extremely wealthy individuals, Wall Street entities like private equity firms and hedge funds, and institutional investors.

Corporate landlords include many well-known entities like Kushner Companies, Mosser Capital, Equity Residential, Related, Essex, Starwood Capital, CBRE, Blackstone, and Irvine Company. Across the country, from New York and California to Arizona, Georgia and Florida, these companies own large apartment complexes, office buildings, hotels, single family homes, and a significant chunk of our mortgage debt. Corporate landlords do not pay their fair share in taxes at the local, state or federal level. Here’s why: for decades, they have successfully lobbied City Halls, state legislatures, and Congress to put their needs first, to create loopholes, special statuses, corporate welfare programs and other schemes to avoid taxes and regulation and boost their profits.

Amid the current crisis, some of these obscenely wealthy companies and individuals, many of whom profited immensely during the Great Recession, are lobbying aggressively for taxpayer funded assistance programs and making plans to exploit the pain of so many to grow even wealthier.