Updated July 20, 2021 - 7:25 pm
A U.S. House panel is scrutinizing The Siegel Group’s eviction practices during the COVID-19 pandemic following a Review-Journal investigation.
Calling the landlord’s eviction practices “particularly concerning,” the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is asking the Las Vegas-based company to turn over a slew of records and documents by early August.
”In contrast to many other landlords, Siegel’s eviction filings appear to have hardly decreased from pre-pandemic levels, despite the eviction moratoria and the availability of rental assistance,” the panel’s chairman, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., wrote to company CEO Stephen Siegel in a letter Monday.
The Siegel Group Senior Vice President Michael Crandall released a statement Tuesday afternoon that the company would participate in the panel’s inquiry.
“This and other reporting do not accurately portray actions by The Siegel Group with regard to the CDC Moratorium,” he wrote. “We therefore look forward to responding to the Committee’s request for information to provide the facts ignored and/or omitted in those reports.”
Clyburn’s letter cites a Review-Journal investigation published in June.
The reporting found The Siegel Group had evicted hundreds of tenants at its chain of hotel-apartment hybrids in Clark County between April and December 2020. The evictions occurred while either a statewide or federal eviction moratoria were in effect.
The vast majority of tenants were removed under Nevada’s “no cause” eviction law, which allows a landlord to evict a tenant at any point after their lease has expired. In the months leading up to the pandemic, the company overwhelmingly evicted tenants for nonpayment of rent.
“Although the company has maintained that it isn’t ‘evicting anyone for nonpayment of rent,’ which is barred by the CDC moratorium, Siegel has rapidly increased the share of its eviction filings that are purportedly for reasons other than nonpayment,” Clyburn’s letter states. “This shift strongly suggests that Siegel is filing evictions motivated by tenants’ inability to pay rent even though its filings are not styled as seeking eviction for nonpayment.”
Meanwhile, the company collected over $2 million in federal rental assistance from Clark County, one of the largest amounts received by any landlord in the program’s first round of allocations. The Siegel Group also received more than $3 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program loans.
The company operates more than two-dozen Siegel Suites and Siegel Select locations in the Las Vegas Valley, with about 4,000 rental units combined, property records show. However, its website advertises apartments in nine states.
“The Siegel Group’s eviction practices during the pandemic are particularly concerning,” Clyburn’s letter states. “Although the Siegel Group only operates about 12,000 housing units, the company has filed at least 573 evictions since the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) eviction moratorium went into effect in September 2020.”
The letter asked The Siegel Group to produce documents by Aug. 3, including company policies, internal communications and eviction records. The panel is also seeking information about whether the company monitored tenants’ personal mail to bolster its ability to evict them.
The Siegel Group is one of four corporate landlords the panel is targeting. Two others primarily rent single-family homes and own thousands of properties in Clark County.
Invitation Homes owned close to 2,800 homes here as of March, property records show. It moved to evict more than 900 tenants across six states while experiencing a 30 percent increase in profits in 2020, according to a letter sent to the company.
Pretium Partners moved to evict tenants in Nevada and five other states at least 1,750 times during the pandemic, according to a letter sent to the company. The company owned about 2,600 homes here as of March, records show.
The fourth company is Ventron Management, with properties in Atlanta and Tampa markets.