Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a moratorium on evictions during the coronavirus last month—absent any similar action from the Republican-led Senate—wealthy corporate landlords have blatantly ignored the order, issuing eviction notices to thousands of tenants across five states, according to a watchdog report.
The Private Equity Stakeholder Project, which tracks the impact private equity firms have on communities, revealed on Monday that in 23 counties across Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas, corporate management companies run by deep-pocketed financial firms evicted or tried to evict nearly 10,000 tenants between early September and October 17. The total number of eviction proceedings by corporate landlords across the U.S. since the CDC attempted to stop them is likely much larger.
As NBC News reported, corporate landlords flouted the CDC’s guidance, which ordered them to halt evictions for any tenant who was affected by the coronavirus pandemic and couldn’t pay rent, as soon as it was issued on September 4.
The Trump administration, though, made it even easier for wealthy companies to continue evicting tenants this month when it issued new guidance saying landlords can challenge tenants’ claims that they are eligible for the moratorium.
The National Apartment Association proudly claimed this month that it had direct conversations with the White House and the Department of Justice to ensure the eviction ban would be less stringent for corporate landlords to follow—and more punitive to struggling renters.
After the new guidance was issued, nearly 2,000 new eviction proceedings were reported across the five states in one week—nearly double the amount issued the previous week.
“The decisions of large companies to advance evictions despite the moratorium quite literally threatens the health of residents and the broader public,” Jim Baker, executive director of the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, told NBC.
The organization noted some of the wealthy corporate landlords which have filed the most evictions since the moratorium was called in early September, including Invitation Homes, MAA Communities, and Greystar Apartments.
— PE Stakeholder (@PEstakeholder) October 26, 2020
Invitation Homes moved to eject more than 130 tenants since September 2 despite its skyrocketing stock price and earnings, which rose by 54% in the first six months of 2020.
Ventron Management, a Canadian real estate firm, has initiated 281 proceedings during the moratorium—the worst offender documented by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project.
David Wertheimer, a housing rights activist in Seattle, called the project’s report “terrifying.”
— David Wertheimer (@DavidWSeattle) October 26, 2020
“The spike in homelessness that results from the absence of continuing tenant protections in the Covid era spells disaster for too many Americans,” Wertheimer tweeted.
Just days before exit, Trump plans ‘going out of business’ sale with Arctic drilling leases
Conservation campaigners on Thursday accused President Donald Trump of taking a "wrecking ball" to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as the White House announced plans to move ahead with the sale of drilling leases in the 19 million-acre coastal preserve, despite widespread, bipartisan opposition to oil and gas extraction there.
Seven weeks before Trump is set to leave office, the administration announced it plans to conduct the sale virtually on January 6. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will enter a notice about the sale in the Federal Registry next week.
"We are rapidly moving to renewable energy and clean transportation options. We don't need the current administration to jam this through, using a 'going out of business sale' approach. We strongly urge oil companies to take a pass."—Ellen Montgomery, Environment AmericaThe announcement comes a week after Bank of America became the latest bank to rule out financing of drilling projects in the Arctic Refuge. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo have also stated in the past year that they will not give financial backing to fossil fuel extraction in the Arctic, leading the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency last month to propose a new rule that would bar financial institutions from refusing to lend to specific sectors in the name of "fair access."
Trump’s legal challenge faces another setback in Wisconsin
President Donald Trump's legal challenges suffered yet another loss in his long-shot bid to overturn his election defeat.
Wisconsin's Supreme Court denied a petition by his lawyers to challenge the president's loss there, bringing their record in such cases to one win and 41 losses, reported the Associated Press.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning against the state's Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and various county election officials, asked to exclude 221,000 ballots fro the results over alleged instances of fraud and illegal conduct.
Dem House members shred GOP counterparts for trying to adjourn when Americans are desperate for help
Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday tried to get Congress to adjourn as part of a stunt to attack some Democratic members who are taking votes over Zoom instead of in person.
The motion was filed by Rep. Angry Biggs (R-AZ), a Trump-loving conservative hardliner who has relentlessly attacked medical professionals during the novel coronavirus pandemic, who wanted to adjourn because so many of his colleagues are not voting in person.