29 July 2022

Not a Fan of Chairman Mao

But I have a though time feeling bad about his executing landlords.

Every time I hear a story about landlords and evictions, particularly when the private equity crowd is involved, I understand what motivated him.

There is now a report from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis revealed that the Wall Street landlords aggressively subverted the CDC proscription on evictions, because, of course they did:

A House subcommittee that investigated eviction practices by large landlords during the pandemic issued a scathing report that said four firms had engaged in “abusive” tactics to attempt to push renters out of their homes despite a federal moratorium.

The report was released Thursday, after a yearlong investigation and a hearing by the committee that looked into the business practices of so-called corporate landlords that led to eviction filings against tens of thousands of renters during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The committee focused mainly on four firms, including Invitation Homes, a rental firm for single-family homes, and Siegel Group, a weekly rental firm. Its report said the four had accounted for the filing of nearly 15,000 eviction cases from March 2020 to July 2021. It’s unclear how many renters were forced out of their homes.

The Eviction Lab at Princeton University said that in the markets it tracked, all landlords had filed 495,216 eviction actions during the period the subcommittee examined.

“While the abusive eviction practices documented in this report would be condemnable under any circumstances, they are unconscionable during a once-in-a-century economic and public health crisis,” said Representative James E. Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat who headed the subcommittee, in a statement.

Of course they are.  Unconscionable is is what happens when Wall Street gets involved, whether it be agriculture, medicine, or landlording.

The report found that Invitation Homes had “misleadingly downplayed” the effect of its pandemic eviction practices to Fannie Mae, the government-backed mortgage finance firm that provided $1 billion in financing to Invitation Homes in 2017. Invitation Homes is one of the nation’s largest single-family rental firms, operating more than 83,000 properties.

Siegel Group, which operates under the name Siegel Suites, was singled out as “uniquely egregious.” The report said the firm, which operates about 12,000 apartments in eight states, had “engaged in deceptive and potentially unlawful practices to prevent tenants from understanding their protection from eviction” under the moratorium. The committee also found that Siegel had used harassment tactics to push tenants out without filing an eviction action.

We really need to address our bankruptcy laws to lessen the corporate shield it presents to bad actors.

As I have mentioned before, history shows that the protections provided by bankruptcy promomte reckless and antisocial behavior.


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