4 Major Landlords Targeted In Congressional Eviction Investigation
A House of Representatives panel has asked four corporate landlords to explain why they moved to evict tenants from their homes while the federal government’s eviction moratorium has been in force.
Invitation Homes, Pretium Partners, Ventron Management and the Siegel Group have collectively evicted 5,000 people, according to a press release issued by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. The panel's chairman, Rep. James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, asked the companies in a series of letters on Monday to provide evidence as to why the evictions took place, The Washington Post reports.
“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,” Clyburn wrote.
The four firms have until Aug. 3 to provide documents to the panel, including records of rental assistance claims, according to the release.
According to eviction tracking data from the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, Ventron Management has tried to evict a quarter of its 8,000 tenants throughout the crisis. Invitation Homes has tried to evict people, even if they are eligible for federal aid, though the company told the Post it would comply with the House request and has worked to keep its 80,000 tenants in homes.
Pretium Partners, which is based in New York City, said it has a policy to not evict anyone covered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium, which expires at the end of this month, and that it has secured some $25M in rental aid for 3,000 tenants.
The federal government has allocated more than $45B in rent relief, and though hundreds of programs have been launched to get the funds out, many complain that few renters and landlords are getting the help they need.
In New York, a statewide eviction ban is in place through Aug. 31, with lawmakers taking the view that barring evictions would allow time for relief programs to ramp up. But since its launch on June 1, the $2.4B program has been met with a wave of criticism for being too hard to access.