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Yes on 21: Notorious Corporate Landlord Invitation Homes Delivers Nearly $620,000 to 'No on Prop 21' Campaign

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Again highlighting the major contributors that are funding the No on Prop 21 campaign, Yes on 21 has published an article about Invitation Homes, one of the most notorious corporate landlords in the United States. Invitation Homes has delivered nearly $620,000 to Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by the California Apartment Association.

The ongoing series about No on Prop 21 contributors explains who is actually calling the shots for No on 21, and the true motive behind No on Prop 21's opposition. That motive is not about seeking better solutions for the housing affordability crisis. Instead, Invitation Homes, Essex Property Trust, and other corporate landlords are clearly trying to protect their profits -- by maintaining the status quo of sky-high rents and keeping their power to charge any amount of rent they want.

Here's an excerpt from the article about Invitation Homes:

For years, Invitation Homes, led by CEO Dallas Tanner, has been known for its shocking treatment of tenants and fueling the country's housing affordability crisis. The corporate landlord was even criticized by the United Nations for its predatory ways. Now, Invitation Homes is shelling out major cash to stop Proposition 21.

Proposition 21 puts limits on unfair, sky-high rent increases. It's backed by a coalition of labor unions, social justice organizations, housing justice groups, and trusted civic leaders, including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. The initiative seeks to urgently address California's longtime housing affordability crisis, which has only worsened because of the financial devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than ever, millions of renters can't afford the excessive rents that have plagued California.

But none of that matters to Invitation Homes and CEO Dallas Tanner.

Invitation Homes, based in Dallas, is one of the largest owners of single-family home rentals in the nation. Traded publicly, the corporate landlord owns more than 80,000 homes and operates in California, Seattle, Dallas, and other markets, with total assets of $17.3 billion. Until recently, Invitation Homes was a division of Blackstone Group, one of the most infamous mega-landlords in the world.

So far, Invitation Homes has shelled out a whopping $619,340 to Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by the California Apartment Association, the main campaign committee that's opposing Proposition 21. Invitation Homes is the one of largest contributors to Californians for Responsible Housing, joining real estate investment trusts Essex Property Trust, Equity Residential, and AvalonBay Communities as major funders. For years, these corporate landlords have operated without restrictions, charging obscenely high rents and driving California's housing affordability crisis.

Among the top No on 21 contributors, the track record of Invitation Homes and CEO Dallas Tanner may be the worst.

In a 2019 letter to Blackstone Group CEO and billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, United Nations experts Leilani Farha and Surya Deva charged that Invitation Homes is "quick to threaten eviction or file eviction notices to late payment of rent or late payment of fees, no matter the circumstances."

They also noted that tenants "indicated that they feel insecure living in these conditions, where above average rent increases, exorbitant fees, or the smallest infraction can result in arrears and lead to eviction and the threat of homelessness."

Alarming stuff — and it's been playing out throughout the U.S.

In 2018, a Reuters special investigation of Invitation Homes found that in "interviews with scores of the company's tenants in neighborhoods across the United States, the picture that emerges isn't as much one of exceptional service as it is one of leaky pipes, vermin, toxic mold, nonfunctioning appliances, and months-long waits for repairs."

"I have given up calling them," Whitney Hurst, a mother of two young boys, told Reuters. "I mean, there are spiders in my kids' toys."

Reuters also found that tenants "complain about excessive rent increases and fees that can add up to hundreds of dollars a year. In a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in May in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, renters accuse the company of ‘fee-stacking.' They allege that Invitation Homes charges tenants $95 if their rent is one minute late — even if the late payment is due to the company's own nonfunctioning online payment portal — and then files an eviction notice to add more fees, penalties, and legal costs if the tenant wants to stay in the home."

Invitation Homes tenant Willie Jean Brister, a grandmother who takes care of five children, told Reuters, "You can't just jump up and move with children."

Read the full Yes on 21 article: "Is Invitation Homes the Worst Corporate Landlord in the Nation?"

Proposition 21

When passed, Proposition 21 will remove current state law restrictions, giving cities and counties the power to implement and expand rent control policies that limit how much rents can increase each year. It would allow local communities to:

  • Expand rent control to more buildings while exempting newly constructed buildings.
  • Exempts Single-Family homeowners who own up to two homes.
  • Allow limits on rent increases when a new renter moves in.

Housing Is A Human Right (HHR) is the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), and the leading sponsor of Proposition 21.

Proposition 21 is sponsored by Homeowners & Tenants United, with significant funding by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. To learn more, visit www.yeson21ca.org and www.housinghumanright.org.

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