Editor’s Note: The Siegel Group owns and operates multiple low-income residences in northern Nevada. This Is Reno reported on living conditions in Siegel Suites early in the pandemic in May 2020.
by Michael Lyle, Nevada Current
The Siegel Group, one of the several corporate landlords being investigated by Congress for pandemic-related evictions, has failed to provide information requested by the congressional panel in July.
South Carolina Democratic Rep. James Clyburn, who chairs the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis that launched an investigation into the company’s eviction practices, sent a letter to Seigel group Tuesday demanding compliance and calling their failure to submit documents “deeply concerning.”
“Despite repeated conversations with Select Subcommittee staff, the Siegel Group has not meaningfully responded to the Select Subcommittee’s document and information requests,citing inappropriate privilege assertions and its own insufficient recordkeeping practices,” Clyburn wrote. “Troublingly, the Siegel Group maintains that it cannot identify how many tenants it filed to evict during the pandemic because that information is held at ‘the property level.’”
The Subcommittee gave Siegel until Nov. 23 to “fully respond” to requests and threatened “alternative measures to obtain your compliance with these requests.”
Housing justice organizers, legal groups and tenants have warned the Siegel Group, which operates thousands of weekly units in Southern Nevada, had skirted the state and federal eviction moratorium.
Nevada first put an eviction moratorium into effect March, 29, 2020, which expired Oct. 15 of that year. With a spike in eviction court filings in November 2020, Gov. Steve Sisolak put in another moratorium in December, which expired in May.
The federal moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and required renters to submit a declaration to landlords, was put in place September 2020 and expired July 31, 2021.
Despite protections, the committee said corporate landlords including Siegel Group, Invitation Homes, Ventron Management and Pretium Partners, which also has 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 eviction moratorium went into effect in September 2020.”
The company had until Aug. 3 to provide information on the number of tenants evicted, the number of CDC declarations submitted, the amount of rental assistance turned down and any reports or incidents of Siegel employees reviewing a tenant’s personal mail to obtain information about their ability to pay rent.
Tuesday’s follow-up letter said the company provided the committee basic information concerning eviction filings for a “subset of properties and for a single month period.”
“The Siegel Group has also failed to produce records indicating the total number of tenants it has moved to evict during the pandemic, the number of tenants it moved to evict within 120 days of receiving rental assistance, and other records documenting the company’s eviction practices during the pandemic,” Clyburn wrote. “The Siegel Group’s failure to respond in a meaningful fashion suggests that the company does not adequately monitor weightylegal proceedings that can lead to families losing their homes, as it fails even to maintain accessiblerecords reflecting its recent legal actions.”
Clyburn added that the company’s inability to provide basic information about tenants that were evicted during the pandemic “raises broader concerns about the accuracy of representations the company has made to the Select Subcommittee about its eviction practices.”
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