The Wall Street Journal reports on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission beginning to investigate companies that may have broken a federal eviction moratorium during the health crisis. The agencies said they would focus on private-equity firms, multistate landlords and eviction-management services.
The Wall Street Journal, Apr 7, 2021: Government Fires a Warning Shot Past Private-Equity Landlords; Federal agencies are investigating whether buyout managers, among others, have illegally foreclosed on people during the pandemic
CFPB Acting Director Dave Uejio and FTC Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter said in a joint press statement: “We will not tolerate illegal practices that displace families and expose them—and by extension all of us—to grave health risks.”
The industry is under the microscope over reports of illegal evictions of people from their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, making housing one of a growing number of sectors where the government is probing the role played by buyout firms.
Private-equity firms began buying up single-family houses after the financial crisis, taking advantage of the large number of foreclosed or underwater houses on the market. In some cases, government-sponsored mortgage-finance companies provided support for private equity’s investments.
The Wall Street Journal cited the Private Equity Stakeholder Project’s findings of more than 56,000 eviction filings in six states by companies controlled by private-equity firms and other corporate landlords since the CDC eviction moratorium took effect last year.