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22 Mär 2019

UN Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha & UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights

Letter to Blackstone CEO from the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing & UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights

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We would like to share with you our concern over recent structural developments that the Blackstone Group L.P. (Blackstone) helped to instigate whereby unprecedented amounts of global capital are being invested in housing as security for financial instruments and traded on global markets, which is having devastating consequences for people... We would like you to be aware of our principle concerns with respect to Blackstone’s engagement in residential real estate, from the perspective of human rights. First, in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, Blackstone, through its Invitation Homes unit, significantly increased its presence in the residential real estate sector, particularly in the US, by purchasing an extraordinary and unprecedented number of foreclosed single-family properties, which were then converted into rental accommodation... Second, Blackstone and its subsidiaries have also been purchasing multi-family rentals at unprecedented rates across the world, which is also having deleterious effects on the right to housing... Third, Blackstone is using its significant resources and political leverage to undermine domestic laws and policies that would in fact improve access to adequate housing consistent with international human rights law.

... Business entities also have direct human rights responsibilities to respect and facilitate human rights, including the right to housing. This means Blackstone should refrain from taking any actions that will cause harm to tenants as well as taking positive steps to ensure the realization of the right to housing.