- Katrina Chism’s landlord, a company owned by a private equity investment firm, is filing a lot of eviction cases against people of color during the pandemic.
- The report found that in the white counties, Pretium has been filing for eviction against only about 2% of the people renting those homes.
- “By comparison, they filed to evict 10% to 12% of their residents in majority-Black counties in Georgia,” says Baker. “It’s incredibly disturbing.”
Chris Arnold from NPR writes:
“Katrina Chism was frightened and confused. She’d been renting the same house in Atlanta for three years. She’s a single mom with a teenage son. But then she lost her customer service job during the coronavirus pandemic and fell a month behind on her rent.
“I remember going to the door and the sheriff standing there,” Chism says. “It scared me because I didn’t know why he was at my house.”
The reason: Her landlord had filed an eviction case against her.
“Once you get that eviction, no one’s going to want you to rent from them,” Chism says.”I don’t want to be in a homeless situation.”
Getting evicted can send people into a downward financial spiral. During the pandemic, there has been the added danger of catching or spreading the coronavirus.
But that hasn’t stopped Chism’s landlord, a company owned by the private equity investment firm Pretium Partners, from filing what critics say is a lot of eviction cases against people during the pandemic.
“The company has filed to evict more than a thousand residents since last September,” says Jim Baker, the executive director of the Private Equity Stakeholder Project. It’s a nonprofit advocacy group that describes itself as supporting workers, communities and others impacted by private equity investment firms.
The group has been tracking eviction filings by corporate landlords and, in a report on Pretium, says it has found a racial disparity.
According to the report, since the beginning of the year, “they’re filing to evict residents at rates four times as high in majority-Black counties,” says Baker.
The group looked at four counties where Pretium owns hundreds of rental homes in each, and it compared two mostly Black counties in Georgia with two mostly white counties in Florida. The median incomes in the counties are similar.
But the report found that in the white counties, Pretium has been filing for eviction against about 2% of the people renting those homes.
“By comparison, they filed to evict 10% to 12% of their residents in majority-Black counties in Georgia,” says Baker. “It’s incredibly disturbing.”
Pretium declined an interview but said in a statement that the report is misleading..”
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