eviction

High eviction rates prompt U.S. investigation

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Four major U.S. landlords with high eviction rates during the pandemic are being investigated for a failure to comply with the eviction moratorium. A House of Representatives panel, led by Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent letters requesting documents and information from Invitation Homes, Pretium Partners, Ventron Management, and The Siegel Group.

“The failure of some large landlord companies to comply with eviction moratoria or to cooperate with rental assistance programs is creating significant hardship for tenants affected by the coronavirus crisis and could contribute to a needless housing crisis as our nation recovers from the pandemic and its economic fallout,” Chairman Clyburn wrote in the letters. “Some landlords have acted responsibly during the pandemic, complying fully with eviction moratoria and working cooperatively with tenants to obtain federal rental assistance funds, but those large landlord companies that have moved to evict people aggressively have had a substantial negative impact on struggling American families.”

A hearing will be held on July 27, 2021 to address these high eviction rates, assess  effective use of emergency rental assistance funds, and identify what further actions are needed to keep people in their homes.

Specific allegations:

  • Invitation Homes has moved to evict at least 932 tenants during the pandemic across six states, including disabled veterans and transportation workers affected by the pandemic, while experiencing a 30% increase in profits during 2020.
  • Pretium Partners’ landlord companies have moved to evict tenants at least 1,750 times during the pandemic and appear to be filing those evictions at dramatically higher rates in majority-Black counties than in majority-white counties.
  • Ventron Management has moved to evict tenants at least 2,178 times during the course of the pandemic even as the company controls only around 8,000 units—effectively attempting to evict more than a quarter of its tenants.
  • The Siegel Group only operates about 12,000 housing units, yet the company has filed for at least 573 evictions since the CDC eviction moratorium went into effect in September 2020 and has rapidly increased the share of its eviction filings that are purportedly for reasons other than nonpayment.

The Select Subcommittee is seeking documents and information from each of these landlord by August 3, 2021 to better understand the status and delivery of federal funds and assess level of cooperation with federally-funded rental assistance programs.

Shortly after the onset of the pandemic, Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), which contained provisions to mitigate foreclosures and keep American families in their homes. These provisions included a moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent from many rental properties from March 27, 2020 to July 24, 2020. In September 2020, after the CARES Act moratorium expired, the CDC imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent as a public health measure.

Since the crisis began in March 2020, U.S. Congress has provided over $46 billion in emergency rental assistance funds to state, local, and tribal governments, including $21 billion in the American Rescue Plan. The CDC eviction moratorium is scheduled to expire on July 31, 2021.

 

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