podcast icon

Predators in the NYC rental market, with Hannah Levintova from Mother Jones

Hannah Levintova, an investigative reporter with the national publication Mother Jones, talks to host Emily Myers about what she uncovered during her reporting on private equity landlords in NYC, the complicated structure of these entities, and how tenants can fight back. 
Headshot of Emily Myers
By Emily Myers  |
June 28, 2022 - 9:30AM  | TRANSCRIPT

In this episode, we take a look at the biggest New York City landlords you’ve probably never heard of—private equity-backed owners. These are buildings bought with funds from an entity made up of private investors. The priority for these firms is less about providing stable housing for local communities and more about making money for shareholders.

It's often very difficult to find out who owns a building because they are bought by limited liability companies (LLCs) that can hide ownership details.

Private equity landlords got a foothold in NYC after the Great Recession in 2008 and the number has increased during the pandemic.

A tenant's first experience of a change in ownership is often a deterioration of services with leaks ignored, maintenance delayed, and noisy construction work going on at all hours. There are often attempts to move lower paying tenants out in favor of those who'll pay higher rents.

Investigative reporter Hannah Levintova has taken a deep dive into this topic for the national publication Mother Jones. On the podcast Levintova talks to host Emily Myers about what she uncovered during her reporting on this topic in NYC, the complicated structure of these entities, and how tenants can fight back. 

Levintova’s work on this topic includes the following articles: "Real Estate Predators Tried to Cash In on the Pandemic. Then Tenants Fought Back" and "Everything Everywhere All at Once: How Private Equity Rules Your World."

Public data on who owns what in NYC can be found here: Who owns what in NYC? and via the Automated City Register Information System, known as ACRIS.

For help getting your apartment's rent history, contact New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal's rent administration office at 718-739-6400 or submit a question online.

The Brick Underground podcast explores every aspect of buying, selling, and renting in NYC so you can better navigate the market, find a deal, make sense of the legal jargon, and stay one step ahead of the competition.

We welcome your feedback on this or any of our other episodes. Leave us a rating or review wherever you get your podcasts. We also love to answer your questions. Send us an email, sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.








Headshot of Emily Myers

Emily Myers

Senior Writer/Podcast Producer

Emily Myers is a senior writer, podcast host, and producer at Brick Underground. She writes about issues ranging from market analysis and tenants' rights to the intricacies of buying and selling condos and co-ops. As host of the Brick Underground podcast, she has earned four silver awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.


Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
iHeart Radio

Subscribe to the podcast via the links above and please do leave us a rating or review. We'd love to hear your feedback on this or any of our other episodes. Send us AN EMAIL, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on SOCIAL MEDIA.


Office Hours with Sam Himmelstein

Tenant attorney Sam Himmelstein, a partner at Himmelstein McConnell Gribben & Joseph and a long time sponsor of Brick Underground sits down for the first live Brick Underground Office Hours to answer your renter's rights questions.

Racism and the lack of diversity in the appraisal business

In a conversation on the Brick Underground podcast with Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, he says racial bias in appraisals is probably as prevalent in NYC as it is in rest of the U.S. and blames the lack of diversity in the appraisal business. 

Making sense of the NYC real estate market with Jonathan Miller

In this episode of the podcast, appraiser Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel, joins host Emily Myers to discuss what buyers, sellers, and renters in New York City can take away from the real estate data as we head into 2023.