Clyburn to Investigate Pandemic Evictions by Corporate Landlords
Jul 20, 2021
Select Subcommittee Announces Oversight Hearing on Cooperation with Rental Assistance Programs and Compliance by Corporate Landlords as CDC Eviction Moratorium Is Set to Expire
Washington, D.C. (July 20, 2021) — Yesterday, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent letters requesting documents and information from four corporate landlords with high eviction rates throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
These companies—Invitation Homes, Pretium Partners, Ventron Management, and The Siegel Group—have together filed for over 5,000 evictions during the pandemic. Court records and reports have called into question their compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium and their cooperation with rental assistance programs. Records and news reports show these companies have filed to evict tenants who have submitted CDC declarations to obtain moratorium protection and tenants who have applied for or received offers of rental assistance funds to pay back rent.
“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 to the companies. “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.”
Clyburn will hold a hearing related to this investigation on July 27, 2021. The hearing will address the effective use of emergency rental assistance funds, highlight best practices and the successes of the American Rescue Plan, and identify what further actions need to be taken to prevent a housing crisis and keep families in their homes.
Public reports and court records show that certain large landlords have allegedly moved to evict tens of thousands of residents during the coronavirus crisis:
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 by August 3, 2021.
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 during the housing and economic crises. 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.
Congress and the Biden Administration have taken aggressive action to prevent the pandemic from precipitating an eviction crisis. 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 Biden Administration has extended the CDC eviction moratorium, streamlined federal guidance to ensure that states and localities can use rental assistance funds effectively, and urged state courts to use rental assistance programs to resolve eviction cases without ordering struggling tenants to leave their homes.
The Select Subcommittee seeks to understand the status and delivery of these federal funds as an alternative to eviction, including whether large landlords are cooperating with federally-funded rental assistance programs. With the CDC eviction moratorium scheduled to expire on July 31, next week’s hearing will feature experts discussing these timely issues as part of the new investigation.
Click here to read today’s letters to Invitation Homes, Pretium Partners, The Siegel Group, and Ventron Management.