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Activists Protest Tenant Practices of Private Equity Giant Blackstone Group

HeadlineFeb 12, 2015

In New York City, Spanish activists and local housing advocates gathered at the headquarters of the private equity firm Blackstone Group to protest its treatment of tenants around the world. Following the global financial crisis, Blackstone has been at the forefront of Wall Street’s takeover of the housing market. In the United States, the firm has become the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the country. In Spain, Blackstone has swept up nearly 42,000 rental and mortgaged units. Critics in both countries accuse the company of harassing tenants and driving up rents in an effort to force people out of their homes. Pablo La Parra of the group Marea Granate NYC, described the problem in Spain, where the unemployment rate is 25 percent.

Pablo La Parra: “The problem right now is that many banks that were rescued with public funds are selling their mortgages to private vulture funds as Blackstone. Many people is facing eviction because Blackstone’s strategy is to raise the prices for the tenants so people is no longer able to pay the rent. So they leave the apartment, and then Blackstone can renegotiate the prices. So they are earning money with people’s suffering.”

Read the column by Juan González in the New York Daily News titled “U.S. firms buy housing in Spain, raise rent and evict tenants.”

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