Large landlords aggressively moved against renters in the pandemic, a report says.
A House subcommittee that investigated eviction practices by giant landlords throughout the pandemic issued a scathing report that stated 4 corporations had engaged in “abusive” techniques to aim to push renters out of their houses regardless of a federal moratorium.
The report, launched Thursday, got here after a yearlong investigation and a listening to by the committee that regarded into the enterprise practices of so-called company landlords that led to eviction filings against tens of 1000’s of renters throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The committee targeted primarily on the actions of 4 corporations, together with single-family dwelling rental agency Invitation Homes and the weekly rental agency Siegel Group. Its report stated the 4 accounted for the submitting of almost 15,000 eviction circumstances from March 2020 to July 2021. It’s unclear what number of renters had been really pressured out of their houses.
The Eviction Lab at Princeton University stated that in the markets it tracks, there have been 495,216 eviction actions filed by all landlords throughout the interval the subcommittee examined.
“While the abusive eviction practices documented in this report could be condemnable underneath any circumstances, they’re unconscionable throughout a once-in-a-century financial and public well being disaster,” stated Representative James E. Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat who headed the subcommittee, in a assertion.
The report discovered that Invitation Homes had “misleadingly downplayed” the impact of its pandemic eviction practices to Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage finance agency that supplied $1 billion in financing to Invitation Homes in 2017. Invitation Homes is one in every of the nation’s largest single -family rental corporations, working greater than 83,000 properties.
The Siegel Group, which operates underneath the title Siegel Suites, was singled out as “uniquely egregious.” The report stated the agency, which operates about 12,000 residences in eight states, “engaged in misleading and doubtlessly illegal practices to forestall tenants from understanding their safety from eviction” underneath the moratorium. The committee additionally discovered that Siegel used harassment techniques to push tenants out with out submitting an eviction motion.
Mr. Clyburn wrote federal businesses about Invitation Homes and Siegel Group, asking them to assessment the firms’ actions.
A consultant for Invitation Homes stated the committee discovered nothing unlawful about the firm’s actions.
“In a time when the focus ought to be on including much-needed provide to the nation’s housing market, it is disappointing that the committee selected as an alternative to pursue a faultfinding mission,” stated Kristi DesJarlais, a spokeswoman.
A consultant for Siegel didn’t instantly return requests for remark.
The committee additionally regarded into the eviction practices of Pretium Partners, one other giant single-family rental dwelling operator, and Ventron Management, which operates 8,000 residences in 26 states. Pretium stated in a assertion that it complied with the federal moratorium and no resident coated by it “has ever been evicted from our houses for nonpayment of lease.”
Ventron couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
Eviction moratoriums had been broadly credited with holding hundreds of thousands of individuals from dropping their houses throughout the pandemic. But they usually didn’t forestall landlords from initiating eviction actions throughout the pandemic, which gave some landlords the skill to rapidly transfer to pressure out tenants as soon as the federal moratorium ended in fall 2021.
The filings created one other downside for renters as a result of they usually left a everlasting mark on a court docket docket that might be used against them in the future. Sometimes known as the “Scarlet E,” the mere submitting of an eviction motion against a individual can generally be utilized by landlords as a cause for refusing to lease to them, even when the motion was dismissed.
Some states have sought to handle that downside by sealing eviction actions filed throughout the pandemic.