Congress panel asks Siegel to provide information on eviction practices

Editor’s Note: The Siegel Group owns and operates several low-income residences in northern Nevada. This Is Reno reported on living conditions in the Siegel suites at the start of the pandemic in May 2020.

by Michael Lyle, Nevada Current

The Siegel Group, one of many business owners being investigated by Congress for pandemic-related evictions, did not provide the information requested by the Congressional panel in July.

South Carolina Democratic Representative James Clyburn, who chairs the select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis that launched an inquiry into the company’s eviction practices, sent a letter to the Seigel Group on Tuesday demanding compliance and describing their non-presentation of documents as “deeply worrying”.

“Despite repeated conversations with the staff of the selected subcommittee, the Siegel group did not respond meaningfully to requests for documents and information from the selected subcommittee, citing inappropriate claims of privilege and its own practices of insufficient record keeping, ”Clyburn wrote. “Disturbingly, the Siegel Group maintains that it cannot identify the number of tenants it has requested to evict during the pandemic, as this information is being held at the ‘property level’.”

The subcommittee gave Siegel until November 23 to “fully respond” to the requests and threatened “alternative measures to secure your compliance with those requests.”

Housing justice organizers, legal groups and tenants have warned that the Siegel Group, which operates thousands of weekly units in southern Nevada, had bypassed state and federal moratorium on evictions.

Nevada first put a moratorium on evictions into effect on March 29, 2020, which expired on October 15 of the same year. With a spike in eviction court cases in November 2020, Governor Steve Sisolak imposed another moratorium in December, which expired in May.

The federal moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and requiring tenants to submit a declaration to landlords, was put in place in September 2020 and expired on July 31, 2021.

Despite the protections, the committee said business owners, including Siegel Group, Invitation Homes, Ventron Management and Pretium Partners, which also owns properties in southern Nevada, had filed more than 5,000 evictions during the pandemic.

In July, Clyburn sent a letter to Siegel inquiring about the company, which had “filed at least 573 evictions since the CDC’s moratorium on evictions took effect in September 2020”.

The company had until August 3 to provide information on the number of evicted tenants, the number of CDC returns submitted, the amount of rental assistance denied, and any reports or incidents of Siegel employees reviewing the mail. a tenant’s staff for information about their capacity. to pay rent.

Tuesday’s follow-up letter said the company had provided the committee with basic information regarding eviction requests for a “subset of properties and for a single one-month period.”

“The Siegel Group also did not produce records showing the total number of tenants it moved to evict during the pandemic, the number of tenants it moved to evict within 120 days of receiving the notice. ‘rent assistance, and other records documenting the company’s eviction practices during the pandemic,’ Clyburn wrote. “The Siegel Group’s inability to respond in a meaningful way suggests that the company is not adequately monitoring important legal proceedings that may lead to the loss of their home by families, as it fails to even keep records accessible reflecting his recent lawsuits. “

Clyburn added that the company’s inability to provide basic information on tenants who were evicted during the pandemic “raises broader concerns about the accuracy of statements the company made to the subcommittee. restricted about his deportation practices ”.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c (3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact editor Hugh Jackson with any questions: [email protected] Follow the Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

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