Predatory Tech: Gig Economy Company Launches Uber For Evicting People

Predatory Tech: Gig Economy Company Launches Uber For Evicting People

Eviction image: Flickr / Linh Do / Creative Commons

 A company called Civvl claims to be making it easy for landlords to hire people as gig workers to evict tenants who have failed to pay rent during the coronavirus economy.

Civvl aims to be an Uber for evicting people, allowing landlords to hire process servers and eviction agents, Vice reported.

The effects of eviction can include homelessness, job loss, depression and suicide, according to The Eviction Lab, an initiative at Princeton University that is building, mapping, and visualizing the first nationwide eviction database.

In the U.S., 206,263 people have died from coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a federal eviction moratorium Sept. 4, 2020 through the end of 2020 after many state and federal orders, including the CARES Act, expired. The CDC moratorium blocks landlords from evicting tenants who are unable to pay rent and do not have another safe housing option if they were to be evicted.

The Eviction Lab database lists the renting population by state and assigns a score to each state based on measures related to eviction and housing included in, and left out of, state-level pandemic responses.

The eviction moratorium is not stopping Civvl.

In Craigslist ads posted around the U.S., Civvl explains the opportunity to make money, Vice reported: “There is plenty of work due to the dismal economy.”

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According to the ads, “Unemployment is at a record high and many cannot or simply are not paying rent and mortgages. We are being contracted by frustrated property owners and banks to secure foreclosed residential properties.”

Technology that profits from the misery of others is not always illegal, even if it does prey on vulnerable and desperate people. Civvl argues that it provides income for people who lost jobs, but an Uber for evicting people?

Others who are profiting during the pandemic include the world’s wealthiest, according to a Sept. 9 report published by Oxfam entitled “Power, Profits and the Pandemic.”

The big five tech firms (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) are projected to make $46 billion in extra profits this year from the outbreak. The world’s seven largest pharmaceutical companies are expected to finish the year adding $12 billion in profits due to covid-19 pandemic, Marxist.com reported. 

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Civvl says on its site it has the “FASTEST GROWING MONEY MAKING GIG DUE TO COVID-19.”

“Literally thousands of process servers are needed in the coming months due courts being backed up in judgements that needs to be served to defendants,” according to Civvl.

Helena Duncan, a Chicago-based paralegal and housing activist, told Vice, “There will be struggling working-class people who will be drawn to gigs like furniture-hauling or process-serving for a company like Civvl, evicting fellow working-class people from their homes so they themselves can make rent.”