FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release – June 2, 2020
INVITATION HOMES EXPLOITS TENANTS DURING PANDEMIC CRISIS
AS THE LARGEST LANDLORD OF SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES IN AMERICA, INVITATION HOMES IS NOT PROVIDING TENANTS RELIEF AND IS RAISING RENTS
(BOSTON– June 2, 2020) – NACA, the largest non-profit HUD approved housing counseling organization, is working with thousands of Invitation Home tenants to organize and advocate for their rights. (click here for Invitation Homes Tenant website)
The tenants and others have responded to a mass mailing NACA sent to over 80,000 Invitation Homes tenants. The overwhelming response from thousands of tenants report having major issues, including extremely high rents, excessive rent increases, arbitrary high fees, refusal to make even critical repairs and other issues. This includes Invitation Homes’ shocking demand that even tenants struggling financially because of the Covid-19 pandemic must make their rental payment on time.
It is unconscionable to require rental payments and increase rents on tenants who have been impacted by the pandemic crisis, and in many states it is illegal. Instead, Invitation Homes minimizes costs and maximizes rents and fees for the sole purpose of providing the largest possible returns to investors, with no consideration of today’s unprecedented circumstances. In other words, its profits come directly from tenant exploitation.
A previous corporate loan deal should have prevented these practices. In 2017 Invitation Homes financed $1 Billion in collateralized debt, with their portfolio of houses as the collateral. The funding came from Wells Fargo, the nation’s most notorious bank, still under government sanctions for its predatory practices. In an unprecedented act, the financing was guaranteed by Fannie Mae. Under the CARES Act, renters living in a property with a GSE-backed mortgage are protected by a temporary eviction moratorium and other restrictions. While this funding opened the door for even more predatory activity against tenants, the deal also places the more than 80,000 homes owned by Invitation Homes under federal government regulation, including the tenant protections provided by the CARES Act.
Bruce Marks, NACA CEO, explains “Invitation Homes is a Wall Street predator. Every single one of their 80,000 homes was owner occupied prior to the 2008 mortgage crisis. They are now using their mortgage power in their 16 markets to exploit their tenants, add to the affordable housing crisis and raise housing prices for homebuyers.”
Francisca and husband Steve Bello, are one of many Invitation Homes tenants who have complaints about Invitation Homes. They say, “Invitation Homes has increased our rent from $1,705 to $2,005. I am pregnant and both my husband and I have lost our jobs due to the pandemic. We were hoping for some assistance from Invitation Homes but they still required payment and they were only willing to not charge us any late fees.”
With the help of NACA, thousands of Invitation Homes tenants are now reaching out within their community to involve other tenants in advocating for their rights. If Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo and Wall Street investors can enable Invitation Homes to profit from tenant exploitation and worsen the affordable housing crisis in this country, then the tenants, NACA and other advocates will take action to fight this exploitation. The tenants have the power to protest, withhold rent and work with political and community leaders to hold Invitation Homes and its executives accountable. This turns the tables on Wall Street and other investors who thought they could generate massive returns by creating a dominant, greed focused single-family landlord.
NACA (NEIGHBORHOOD ASSISTANCE CORPORATION OF AMERICA (www.naca.com)
Started in 1988, NACA is the largest HUD-Certified nonprofit, community advocacy and homeownership organization in the United States. NACA has been the forefront in fighting predatory lending and has been the most effective organization in providing affordable solutions to over 250,000 homeowners. NACA provides the best mortgage in the country through its 48 offices nationwide. NACA’s founder and CEO Bruce Marks was named Bostonian of the Year for 2007 because of his work in getting the major lenders and servicers to modify home loans. He has also testified before Congress on numerous occasions including September 12, 2000—being one of the few to sound the alarm of the pending mortgage crisis. For more information, please visit www.naca.com.