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Single Family Rental Giant Invitation Homes Restarts Eviction Filings

One of the largest single-family rental landlords in the United States, Invitation Homes (NYSE: INVH), has restarted efforts to evict residents of its homes across the country, filing more than seventy eviction cases since July and more than two dozen cases since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an eviction moratorium on September 1 to limit the spread of COVID-19.

On its August 4 conference call, Invitation Homes President and CEO Dallas Tanner stated that the landlord, which owns 80,000 rental homes, was doing well in the face of COVID-19. By the end of the second quarter of 2020, the company had $1.6 billion in cash, and spent $46 million on acquisitions for the quarter.

Private equity firm The Blackstone Group originally owned Invitation Homes, created it in the years following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis as part of a wave of Wall Street buy ups of single family homes.

Media coverage:

Bloomberg, Sept 14: “Eviction Filings by Big Landlords Surged After Trump Issued Ban”

COVID-19 and rent

While unemployment remains at historic highs and many renters across the country have foregone their monthly rent payments, Invitation Homes, as of August 4, boasted a “near historical”[i] average rent collection rate. In the second quarter of 2020, the company’s average rental rate actually increased by 3.7 percent, and it saw gross rental revenues increase 4.7 percent versus the same period last year. Conversely, COO Charles Young argued that the company’s income overall decreased from the first quarter 2020 in large part due to “non-enforcement of late fees.”[ii]

Historically, the company’s average rent collections—before the COVID-19 pandemic— was 99 percent, compared to:

Eviction filings in the face of the pandemic

Even in counties where COVID-19 was on the rise and residents were asked to stay at home, Invitation Homes has recently filed eviction cases. The company’s eviction filings resumed in June and July, corresponding with the reported increase in rent collection.

Many jurisdictions across the country have implemented eviction moratoriums, and the now-expired CARES Act had additionally barred landlords with government-backed mortgages from imposing late fees or other charges related to non or late payment of rent. Invitation Homes, like many corporate landlords, relied a great deal on fees in order to increase profits, though for April 2020, the company waived all fees, saying it was “just trying to be thoughtful with our residents.”[iv]

Invitation Homes’ COO stated that the company had reintroduced late fees in May and June. The practice may have been illegal if levied against residents of government-backed properties (until July 27, 2020).[v] Invitation Homes received nearly a billion dollar loan from federally-backed lender Fannie Mae in 2017 as part of a sale of securities linked to rental income.[vi]

Invitation Homes quietly restarts evictions

Possibly in preparation for the end of the CARES Act eviction moratorium, Invitation Homes quietly altered its statement on COVID-19 in late July. Prior to July 23, 2020, its public facing stance had been a moratorium on evictions:

“We have instituted a moratorium on evictions until further notice. We’re in the business of providing homes for families and always try to work with our residents to keep them in their homes.”[vii]

On July 23rd, the company quietly announced it was restarting evictions:

“While eviction is always our last resort, we will preserve our legal rights once we have exhausted all other options.”[viii]

Invitation Homes restarted eviction filings even as COVID-19 was spiking in many places. For example during the first week of July, Arizona ranked as the top global pandemic hot spot, adding 3,300 coronavirus cases per million residents. Yet Invitation Homes filed nearly two dozen eviction cases in Maricopa County (Phoenix and Mesa) Arizona between July 6 and July 17.

Invitation Homes also recently filed eviction cases in Texas, Georgia, and Florida during spikes in COVID-19 cases. In a case filed in Florida in September, after the CDC moratorium took effect, the eviction notice Invitation Homes provided to the resident stated “If you have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency you must inform us by the above date. If you do not inform us we will presume you have not been adversely affected by the COVID-19 emergency.” The notice was delivered on August 20, giving the resident just five days to respond.

Eviction notice from a September 8 Invitation Homes eviction filing

Despite CDC moratorium, Invitation Homes continues eviction filings

On September 1, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an eviction moratorium to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Since the CDC’s announcement, Invitation Homes has filed more than two dozen eviction cases in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. The majority (15) of these cases were filed on or after September 4, when the CDC’s eviction moratorium took effect.

For example, on September 11, Invitation Homes filed five eviction cases in DeKalb County, Georgia. All of the cases are evictions for nonpayment of rent, meaning they are covered by the CDC eviction moratorium.

Eviction cases filed by Invitation Homes since July 1:

CountyStCases
MaricopaAZ44
HarrisTX9
DeKalbGA8
TarrantTX5
HillsboroughFL3
OrangeFL2
ClaytonGA1
ManateeFL1
PolkFL1
Total74
Case NumberPlaintiffCountyStateDate Filed
20D112442018-2 IH BORROWER, LP OKELLEY & SOROHAN, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, LLCDeKalbGA2020-09-11
20D112492018-3 IH BORROWER, LP OKELLEY & SOROHAN, ATTORNEYS AT LAW , LLCDeKalbGA2020-09-11
20D112502018-3 IH BORROWER, LP OKELLEY & SOROHAN, ATTORNEYS AT LAW , LLCDeKalbGA2020-09-11
20D112482018-4 IH BORROWER, LP OKELLEY & SOROHAN, ATTORNEYS AT LAW , LLCDeKalbGA2020-09-11
20D11266THR GEORGIA, LP OKELLEY & SOROHAN, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, LLCDeKalbGA2020-09-11
CC2020-1294672017-1 IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-09
CC2020-1291632017-1 IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-09
412020CC004125THR FLORIDA LPManateeFL2020-09-09
20-CC-0539222019-1 IH Borrower LPHillsboroughFL2020-09-08
20-CC-053937IH5 Property Florida LPHillsboroughFL2020-09-08
20-CC-053947THR Florida LPHillsboroughFL2020-09-08
205100225274SWAY 2014-1 Borrower LLCHarrisTX2020-09-04
CC2020-127221THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-04
CC2020-127423THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-04
CC2020-127252THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-04
CC2020-127011THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-03
CC2020-126879THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-03
CC2020-127009THR PHOENIX LP IN CAE OF INVITATION HOMESMaricopaAZ2020-09-03
CC2020-127014THR PHOENIX LP IN CARE OF INVITATION HOMES (PHX3)MaricopaAZ2020-09-03
CC2020-1262622017-1 IH BORROWER LP c/o INVITATION HOMES (PHX3)MaricopaAZ2020-09-02
CC2020-1262422018-1 IH BORROWER LP c/o INVITATION HOMES (PHX2)MaricopaAZ2020-09-02
CC2020-1262832018-1 IH BORROWER LP IN CARE OF INVITATION HOMES(PHX2)MaricopaAZ2020-09-02
CC2020-1262852018-1H BORROWER LP ico INVITATION HOMES (PHX2)MaricopaAZ2020-09-02
CC2020-125927IH6 PROPERTY PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-02
CC2020-126182IH6 PROPERTY PHOENIX LP I/CO INVITATION HOMES (PHX1)MaricopaAZ2020-09-02
CC2020-1255792017-2 IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-01
CC2020-1251192017-2 IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-01
482020CC007894A001OX2018 3 IH BORROWER LPOrangeFL2020-09-01
482020CC007912A001OX2018 4 IH BORROWER LPOrangeFL2020-09-01
CC2020-125583IH6 PROPERTY PHOENIX LP C/O INVITATION HOMES (PHX1)MaricopaAZ2020-09-01
CC2020-125236THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ2020-09-01
JP07-20-E000963862019-1 IH Borrower LPTarrantTX8/20/20
204200211416SWAY 2014-1 Borrower LLCHarrisTX8/20/20
2031002034692018-4 IH Borrower LPHarrisTX8/13/20
204200203460SRP SUB LLCHarrisTX8/13/20
204200203487SRP SUB LLCHarrisTX8/13/20
204200203503SRP SUB LLCHarrisTX8/13/20
2042002034502018-4 Borrower LPHarrisTX8/12/20
2051002033652018-4 Borrower LPHarrisTX8/12/20
20D098172018-2 IH BORROWER, LP OKELLEY & SOROHAN, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, LLCDeKalbGA8/6/20
20D098212018-3 IH BORROWER, LP OKELLEY & SOROHAN, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, LLCDeKalbGA8/6/20
CC2020-113567THR PHOENIXMaricopaAZ8/6/20
2020CC-002567-0000-002018-3 IH BORROWER LPPolkFL8/5/20
JP01-20-E000922582018-4 IH Borrower LPTarrantTX8/4/20
JP01-20-E000922582018-4 IH Borrower LPTarrantTX8/4/20
JP04-20-E000592732019-1 IH Borrower LPTarrantTX8/4/20
20D095182017-2 IH BORROWER, LP OKELLEY & SOROHAN, ATTORNEYS AT LAW, LLCDeKalbGA7/17/20
CC2020-106066THR PHOENIX LP IN CARE OF INVITATION HOMES (PHX3)MaricopaAZ7/17/20
CC2020-1040762017-2 IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ7/13/20
CC2020-1032672018-2IH BORROWER LP C/O INVITATION HOMES (PHX1)MaricopaAZ7/10/20
JP07-20-E000962532019-1 IH Borrower LPTarrantTX7/10/20
202100000000SRP Sub LLCHarrisTX7/10/20
CC2020-103304THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ7/10/20
CC2020-1030052013-1 IH BORROWER LP IN CARE OF INVITATION HOMES (PHX2)MaricopaAZ7/9/20
CC2020-1030032015-3 IH2 BORROWER LP IN CARE OF INVITATION HOMES (PHX3)MaricopaAZ7/9/20
CC2020-1028032017-2 IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ7/9/20
CC2020-1029282018-2 IH BORROWER LP % INVIATAION HOMES (PHX2)MaricopaAZ7/9/20
CC2020-102812IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ7/9/20
CC2020-102307THR PHOENIX LP MaricopaAZ7/8/20
CC2020-102305THR PHOENIX LP MaricopaAZ7/8/20
2020CM10630INVITATION HOMES And 20183 IH BORROWER LPClaytonGA7/7/20
CC2020-101950THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ7/7/20
CC2020-102098THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ7/7/20
CC2020-102125THR PHOENIX LP C/O INVITATION HOMES (PHX3)MaricopaAZ7/7/20
CC2020-102198THR PHOENIX LP IN CARE OF INVITATION HOMES (PHX3)MaricopaAZ7/7/20
CC2020-1015672017-2 IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ7/6/20
CC2020-1015512018-3 IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ7/6/20
CC2020-1015562018-3 IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ7/6/20
CC2020-1015522018-3 IH BORROWER LPMaricopaAZ7/6/20
CC2020-1015662018-4 IH Borrower LPMaricopaAZ7/6/20
CC2020-1015632018-4 IH Borrower LPMaricopaAZ7/6/20
CC2020-101702THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ7/6/20
CC2020-101562THR PHOENIX LPMaricopaAZ7/6/20
CC2020-101560THR PHOENIX LP MaricopaAZ7/6/20

[ii] Ibid.

[i] https://www.fool.com/earnings/call-transcripts/2020/08/04/invitation-homes-inc-invh-q2-2020-earnings-call-tr.aspx, Accessed Aug. 4, 2020.

[viii] https://www.invitationhomes.com/coronavirus-precautions/, Accessed Aug. 6, 2020.

[iii] https://www.fool.com/earnings/call-transcripts/2020/08/04/invitation-homes-inc-invh-q2-2020-earnings-call-tr.aspx, Accessed Aug. 4, 2020.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] https://www.fanniemae.com/syndicated/documents/mbs/remicsupp/2017-T01.pdf

[vii] https://web.archive.org/web/20200722223957/https:/www.invitationhomes.com/coronavirus-precautions/, Accessed Aug. 3, 2020.

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