New Analysis Reveals Industry Groups Have Fought To Overturn Eviction Moratoriums As Members Boasted of Strong Balance Sheets and Increased CEO Compensation

Washington, D.C. — Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against the Biden administration’s federal eviction moratorium, government watchdog Accountable.US released a new report showing that the top five Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) — which own and operate rental properties and have been allied with groups that actively opposed housing protections — have reported positive outlooks to investors and spent lavishly during the pandemic, including giving new raises for some of their CEOs.

The analysis also revealed that Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), two senators who resisted extending the CDC’s moratorium back as early as December 2020, have taken thousands of dollars from these REITs’ trade groups that opposed the protections keeping millions of Americans from homelessness.

 

“By striking down the eviction ban, the Supreme Court is lurching rightward and welcoming a homelessness crisis in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. The court sided with rich corporate landlords that are itching to kick out vulnerable families even as they have boasted about strong performance and boosted their CEO compensation substantially,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Rather than damage public health in the communities their tenants live just to boost their bottom lines, the big rental companies should do the right thing and hold off until the health crisis is over.”

Earlier this month, Accountable.US released an analysis finding that the Georgia and Alabama chapters of the National Association of Realtors — the two groups leading the lawsuit against the CDC’s eviction ban — have made statements praising their respective states’ strong and successful pandemic housing markets. During the once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, the groups also capitalized on increased home sales to promote website content showcasing the U.S. housing market’s “hot streak,” all despite their legal rhetoric suggesting doom for the industry.

KEY FINDINGS FROM THE REPORT:

  • Equity Residential, which represents 20% of the apartment REIT market, reported “considerable positive momentum,” collected 97% of its expected residential revenue in Q1 2021, and pulled in over $2.5 billion in rental income in 2021. In 2020, Equity boosted its CEO’s pay by over $1 million to $7.6 million, who was poised to sell his $1.4 million eight-bedroom home in August 2021.
  • Essex Property, which represents 14% of the same market, said it had “a good first quarter,” raised its shareholder dividend, and in 2021 has paid out almost $32 million to buy a partner’s stake in an apartment complex. In 2020, Essex boosted its CEO’s pay by $135,000 to over $6.5 million, who owns at least two homes together valued at $3.7 million. 
  • Mid-America Apartment Companies, which represents 13% of the same market and is the largest U.S. apartment owner, said its balance sheet was in “great shape,” collected 99.1% of its billed rent, and boosted its 2021 earnings outlook by nearly $30 million in mid-2021 due to “strong rent growth.” In 2020, MAA paid its CEO $4.7 million, who owns two homes together valued at $7.6 million. 
  • UDR, Inc., which has 10% of the market, told investors that its Q1 results were “solid,” that it would be able to “drive growth” under an extended moratorium in New York, raised its shareholder dividend, and has spent or planned to spend over $763M on 2,900 homes in 2021 alone. In 2020, UDR paid over $6.3 million to its CEO, who owns a $2 million home.
  • AvalonBay Communities, which represents 20% of the market, saw net income grow by over 5% in 2020, boosted executives’ pay by over $2.6 million in 2020, and in 2021 projected “outsized growth as the economy recharges.” In 2020, AvalonBay paid over $11 million to its CEO, who owns at least 4 homes valued at over $5.9 million.
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