Atlanta owner, others charged with using abusive tactics during pandemic –

The US Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a staff report saying business owners ‘used abusive tactics to evict struggling tenants’, including a landlord with property in DeKalb who also requested and received [paycheck protection program] funds.

According to a press release from the select subcommittee, chaired by the representative of South Carolina. James ClyburnThe subcommittee’s year-long investigation looked at the eviction practices of four business owners during the first 16 months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ventron Management (Ventron) was one of four companies investigated; Ventron owns and operates 17 apartment communities in Atlanta, including five in DeKalb County. Walden Brook (Lithonia), East Perimeter Pointe (Decatur), Ashland Pines (Stone Mountain), The Park at East Ponce (Stone Mountain) and Shadow Lake (Doraville) are DeKalb’s five properties, according to Ventron’s website.

The investigation found that the four companies under investigation filed a total of 14,744 eviction actions between March 15, 2020 and July 29, 2021. The press release states that the number of evictions – for corporate properties in 28 states – was almost three times higher. than previously known.

“At the same time, these companies each showed evidence of financial stability: Invitation Homes posted record profits, Pretium invested in significant expansions, Siegel experienced almost no drop in revenue, and Ventron and Siegel each received over $2 million in paycheck protection program forgiven. fund,” the press release read.

“In some cases, the select subcommittee found that their abuses may have violated the law, and I have forwarded our relevant findings to the appropriate federal and state agencies for further investigation and potential enforcement action. These companies must be held accountable and we must ensure that future emergencies do not result in more flagrant evictions,” Clyburn said.

Other survey findings include:

  • Documents show that 91% of eviction actions filed by Ventron in the first 16 months of the pandemic were for tenants who were only a month behind on rent. The press release says Ventron’s “prompt use of eviction filing” may have prompted evictions before states put in place ways to pay out federal housing assistance.
  • Ventron, Invitation Homes, Siegel, and Pretium had policies or practices that allowed eviction cases to be filed even when a tenant had requested housing assistance and was expecting assistance.

The report recommends that in future emergencies, Congress and oversight agencies help prevent more people from losing their homes. “Congress can prevent aggressive eviction requests by business owners by including safeguards to protect tenants whose landlords do not accept offers of housing assistance by requiring states and localities to provide assistance directly to tenants whose landlords do not cooperate,” and through other legislative and oversight methods, according to the press release.

For the full subcommittee report, visit: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2022.07.28%20SSCC%20Staff%20Report%20Examining%20Pandemic%20Evictions.pdf

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