WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – requested a briefing from Pretium Partners, LLC about reports that the company has attempted to evict over a thousand tenants for unpaid rent despite the federal eviction moratorium. In his letter to Pretium Partners CEO Don Mullen, Senator Brown expresses particular concern that the company has reportedly filed eviction notices at higher rates in majority-Black counties.

“While evictions can have long-lasting, damaging effects on renters in normal times, they are especially troubling during a pandemic where safe, stable housing can literally mean the difference between life and death,” Senator Brown wrote. He continued, “In light of the serious potential health consequences of evictions during the pandemic, I am troubled that your companies may have pursued evictions in contravention to the CDC’s moratorium.  I am also concerned that these evictions appear to have disproportionately affected renters from minority groups who have suffered greater incidence of serious COVID-related illness and death.”

Senator Brown requested a briefing by June 24, 2021.

A copy of the letter appears here and below.

Dear Mr. Mullen:

I write to request Pretium Partners, LLC (Pretium Partners) provide a briefing to my staff regarding concerning reports that the company’s portfolio firms—Progress Residential and Front Yard Residential Corp.—sought to evict over a thousand tenants for unpaid rent despite a federal moratorium.  Troublingly, Pretium Partners’ portfolio firms have reportedly filed eviction notices at higher rates in majority-Black counties.

In September 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order prohibiting certain residential evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since then, Congress and the CDC have extended the eviction moratorium, including most recently until June 30, 2021.  According to NPR and Bloomberg, however, portfolio firms controlled by Pretium Partners have filed eviction notices against more than a thousand tenants across seven states since September 2020—the month in which the eviction moratorium went into effect.

While evictions can have long-lasting, damaging effects on renters in normal times, they are especially troubling during a pandemic where safe, stable housing can literally mean the difference between life and death.  In establishing and extending its federal eviction moratorium, the CDC noted the importance of the moratorium in protecting the health of renters and the public.  The CDC’s March 31, 2021 order extending the moratorium notes that evictions leading renters to move to shared or congregate spaces can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The CDC also cites research indicating that lifting of state eviction moratoria had led to increased incidence of COVID-related illness and death.

In light of the serious potential health consequences of evictions during the pandemic, I am troubled that your companies may have pursued evictions in contravention to the CDC’s moratorium.  I am also concerned that these evictions appear to have disproportionately affected renters from minority groups who have suffered greater incidence of serious COVID-related illness and death.  Therefore, I want to understand your company’s eviction policies and practices and the reported disparities in eviction filings.  I request Pretium Partners brief my staff by June 24, 2021 on these and related matters.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this request.  If you have any questions, and to schedule the briefing, please contact Mr. Mohammad Aslami with the Majority staff at (202) 224-7391.

 

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