Earlier this week, NBC News featured a lengthy investigative story by Gretchen Morgenson on evictions by private equity firms and other corporate landlords since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an eviction moratorium on September 1 (NBC News, Oct 26: “Large corporate landlords have filed 10,000 eviction actions in five states since September“).
Drawing on data from the Private Equity Stakeholder Project’s tracking of evictions by corporate landlords during the COVID-19 pandemic, NBC News looked at evictions by Pretium Partners/ Progress Residential, Invitation Homes, the Carlyle Group, Ventron Management, and others. NBC highlighted the story of Christina Velez, a resident of a Pretium Partners/ Progress Residential rental home, who lost job and faced eviction despite the CDC eviction moratorium:
“In early September, Cristina Velez lost her job running the staffing team on a Covid-19 treatment trial. Faced with a $2,440 rent bill on the Boca Raton, Fla., home she shares with her daughter, Velez began calling her landlord, Progress Residential, to ask whether it would give her time to come up with the money.
“I told them I was affected by Covid, but it didn’t matter to them,” Velez said. “They are not very patient.”
On Sept. 8, Progress gave her an ultimatum — pay the rent or deliver the premises, a Palm Beach County court filing shows. Just over two weeks later, Progress filed eviction proceedings against Velez, demanding $4,210.14 in rent and legal fees, delivering the papers to her door.
Not once, Velez said, did Progress representatives tell her about a nationwide eviction moratorium ordered by the federal government to let tenants hurt by Covid-19 stay in their homes if they couldn’t pay their rent.”
Progress Residential, owned by private equity firm Pretium Partners, has filed more than 100 eviction cases since the CDC eviction moratorium was announced in early September. The company recently announced plans to acquire Front Yard Residential, another single-family rental firm with 14,500 rental homes. Front Yard itself has also filed at least 100 eviction cases despite the CDC eviction moratorium.
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