Corporate landlord’s California buying spree alarms tenants: ‘I only earn enough to pay the rent’

Gladys Balcazar says she can barely afford food after paying rent to her new landlord, Blackstone Inc, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.

Balcazar, a 60-year-old janitor, lives with her 27-year-old son in a two-bedroom apartment in Imperial Beach. She supports her son, who has a disability, on a salary of $2,800 a month.

Blackstone bought her building and 65 others in San Diego County in 2021, becoming one of the region’s biggest landlords and alarming lawmakers, affordable housing advocates and Balcazar. In March Balcazar’s monthly rent rose $200 to $2,000.

“All of this has really depressed me because I don’t see a way out,” she said in Spanish. “I only earn enough to pay the rent, and after that there is nothing left.”

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