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The Midwest Newsroom is a partnership between NPR and member stations to provide investigative journalism and in-depth reporting.

Tenants across the Midwest cry foul as private equity firms buy up and then neglect homes

En Breckenridge Hills, Missouri, casas en Rex Avenue el viernes 21 de abril del 2023.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
En Breckenridge Hills, Missouri, casas en Rex Avenue el viernes 21 de abril del 2023.

VineBrook homes rents thousands of single-family homes to tenants across the Midwest. An investigation by the Midwest Newsroom found a pattern of negligence based on hundreds of complaints from tenants across the region.

In May, NPR’s Midwest Newsroom published an investigation into VineBrook Homes, a private equity firm that owns and rents thousands of single-family homes across the Midwest. This company was the third largest landlord in Omaha in 2023.

The Midwest Newsroom’s investigative reporter Kavahn Mansouri interviewed eight current and former tenants in the St. Louis area, reviewed court filings and Better Business Bureau complaints all which showed a litany of tenant complaints including: unresolved maintenance issues, unfounded evictions, aggressive rent collection tactics, poor customer service and more.

The Midwest Newsroom’s data journalist Daniel Wheaton identified the properties that VineBrook owns and manages by reviewing the data from counties where the company operates. Identifying nearly 50 different VineBrook-associated limited liability companies throughout the country.

Local property records show the vast majority of properties owned by VineBrook Homes in the region are in north St. Louis County neighborhoods, in census tracts that are predominantly nonwhite and have median household incomes of around $60,000 or less.

Read the full investigation here.

Since the story was published, several Senators have proposed theEnd Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act, which would require private equity investors to sell all of their homes over 10 years. Those that don’t would be heavily taxed.

Hedge funds own more than 574,000 single-family homes nationwide.

The Midwest Newsroom is an investigative and enterprise journalism collaboration including NPR, KCUR 89.3, IPR, Nebraska Public Media and STLPR.

Kavahn Mansouri is the Midwest Newsroom's investigative reporter. Contact him at kmansouri@kcur.org
Daniel Wheaton is the data journalist for the Midwest Newsroom. Wheaton is based at Nebraska Public Media in Lincoln, Nebraska, and can be reached at dwheaton@nebraskapublicmedia.org
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