Evictions moratorium is over: This new start-up aims to make bank
An unfortunate consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is that millions of people are either being evicted or are under threat of being evicted. With millions of people losing their jobs and, therefore, not having a steady income to pay their rent, people are facing uncertain futures about keeping their homes.
However, there have been some who are trying to take advantage of people who can’t pay their rent. A new app is trying to capitalize on the more frequent evictions by helping companies make the eviction process even easier. Here is more information on the new app, Civvl.
Uber for evictions
Civvl is essentially an Uber equivalent to evicting people. Seizing on a pandemic-stricken economy where people cannot pay their rent, Civvl makes it easy for landlords to hire process servers & eviction agents for gigs.
In Craigslist ads that have been posted around the country, the ad for Civvl is stated as such:
“There is plenty of work due to the dismal economy. Unemployment is at a record high and many cannot or simply are not paying rent and mortgages,” the ads say. “We are being contracted by frustrated property owners and banks to secure foreclosed residential properties.”
Civvl is basically allowing people to pay rent for their apartments by kicking out people who can’t pay for theirs. Civvl is also connected to a real gig company called OnQall, which also develops similar apps such as LawnFixr & CleanQwik.
Is Civvl legal?
There’s a federal ban on evictions that were declared by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). There’s even punishment for violating the ban, which can include fines and even jail time. Based on the terms of service from Civvl, it appears that they are not violating any rules of the ban through their service.
Civvl is a service where companies can hire others to assist in the eviction process, meaning that the companies take the risk of going forward with the eviction. Civvl does not actually carry out the eviction themselves.
While it may be legal, that does not mean that Civvl is ethical or even morally correct. According to Vice, the Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO) in Chicago has received 400 calls regarding illegal lockouts in March, which is double the amount that they received during March of last year.
The Autonomous Tenants Union (ATO), another Chicago-based organization that assists tenants, also said that they had been receiving many more phone calls from tenants who were facing either illegal evictions or legal evictions that manipulated loopholes in both local & federal eviction bans.
Civvl is doing what many landlords have been doing during the pandemic, which is trying to take advantage of the loopholes of certain bans or preying on certain tenants who have a lack of information on the rules of evictions.
In a statement from the ATO, the organization said, “Civvl’s marketing language that portrays underwater tenants and homeowners as scammers looking for an excuse to skip out on their obligations is not only factually inaccurate, but plays into a general victim-blaming PR myth perpetuated by the real estate industry to justify their exploitative business practices.”
For many, working in the eviction industry can also be difficult. According to Vice, a man named Francisco Munez cried as he emptied an elderly woman’s apartment. It’s heartbreaking to see many people lose their homes, and being a part of the moving process can be tough, especially when it may be the mover’s only way of making money.
The number of evictions that have occurred in the United States during this pandemic is alarming and has caused many people uncertainty about the future. Civvl is a company taking advantage of this increased vulnerability.