Tenants fearful after housing deal

Private equity giant Blackstone has struck a deal with UK social housing association Sage, sparking fears from campaigners that it will price out low-earning, elderly and sick tenants.

New York-based Blackstone, which owns the largest home rental company in the United States, will fund for-profit housing association Sage to buy affordable homes from private developers, property magazine Estates Gazette says.

“(Blackstone and Sage’s) purely profit motive is contrary to the social purpose objectives of most traditional housing associations,” said Tom Murtha, co-founder of SHOUT, which campaigns for more investment in social housing.

“To make the return they need … Sage and Blackstone would increase rent beyond the means of those on low-income, in the greatest need,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“If they acquired social housing, it would soon cease to be social housing,” he said in emailed comments, referring to homes below market rent for people on low incomes.

Blackstone and Sage declined to comment.

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