Uber evictions

Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People

"SINCE COVID-19 MANY AMERICANS FELL BEHIND IN ALL ASPECTS," reads the website copy. The button below this statement is not for a GoFundMe, or a petition for calling for rent relief. Instead, it is the following call to action, from a company called Civvl: "Be hired as eviction crew."

During a time of great economic and general hardship, Civvl aims to be, essentially, Uber, but for evicting people. Seizing on a pandemic-driven nosedive in employment and huge uptick in number-of-people-who-can't-pay-their-rent, Civvl aims to make it easy for landlords to hire process servers and eviction agents as gig workers.

Helena Duncan, a Chicago-based paralegal who also participates in housing activism, saw a Craigslist post from Civvl while searching for jobs. The ad alarmed her.

"It's fucked up that 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," she told Motherboard.

In its Craigslist ads, posted across the country, Civvl explains the opportunity plainly:

"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 state. "We are being contracted by frustrated property owners and banks to secure foreclosed residential properties."

Civvl aims to marry the gig economy with the devastation of a pandemic, complete with signature gig startup language like "be your own boss," and "flexible hours," and "looking for self-motivated individuals with positive attitudes:" "FASTEST GROWING MONEY MAKING GIG DUE TO COVID-19," its website says. "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."

The website also featured a quote, attributed to The New York Times: "Too many people stopped paying rent and mortgages thinking they would not be evicted." A search reveals this phrase hasn't appeared in the Times. The company did not respond to requests for comment or a source for this quote, but the mention of the Times has since disappeared from its website.

The company, at first glance, appears to be some kind of _Nathan For You-_esque prank: siccing precarious gig jobs onto vulnerable people. But Civvl is connected to a larger—and real—gig economy company called OnQall, which describes itself as an app that provides "on-demand task services to non-urban communities beyond main city areas." OnQall is the developer behind other, more believable TaskRabbit-esque apps, like LawnFixr, CleanQwik, and MoveQwik. Given the fact that Civvl is advertising all over the country and that OnQall, though not popular, does exist, it seems as though Civvl actually is an attempt to simplify the process of evicting people who cannot pay their rent during a pandemic.

There is a federal ban on evictions, declared by the CDC, but landlords are still attempting to press on. There is a penalty for violating the ban, which can include a combination of fines and jail time. Civvl did not respond to a question about how the company ensures evictions are legal, though based on the Terms of Service, it appears to pass all risk onto the companies using its platform, stating that it simply "provides lead generation to independent contractors," and does not actually carry out the work itself.

A recent CNN report showed the heartbreaking reality of working in evictions. Francisco Muñez, a mover for a landlord in Houston, cries as he empties an elderly woman's apartment. "Maybe today it's her. Tomorrow it's me," he told the reporter.

"Legal court evictions are on hold," Javier Ruiz, a counselor on the Tenants' Rights hotline for MTO, told VICE. "But most of these management companies, they're not necessarily evicting people through courts. They're just evicting people through pressure. So that's why I see a company like [Civvl] would be coming in."

I have no doubt that lots of people will sign up for doing this because so many are one step away from being evicted themselves and will do whatever it takes to not be. This is why it was clever of the site to misquote the NYT. I see comments like that quite frequently on my local boards.

And of course the people behind this company will take no risk of moving someone out illegally. Oh no that risk belongs to the lucky person who doesn’t read the fine print at the bottom.

This is hideous beyond comprehension and it falls squarely on congress for not giving people relief. Pelosi went from telling us to Calm Down to offering prayers to those being evicted or starving and to those responsible for them doing it. Buy a f’cking mirror, Nancy and look into it!

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thanatokephaloides's picture

This is hideous beyond comprehension and it falls squarely on congress for not giving people relief. Pelosi went from telling us to Calm Down to offering prayers to those being evicted or starving and to those responsible for them doing it. Buy a f’cking mirror, Nancy and look into it!

"You kill Medusa!" -- NetHack

Wink

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15 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

janis b's picture

@thanatokephaloides

"It's fucked up that 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," she told Motherboard.

... from the link about the company Civvl.

What a depressing evolution in the tragedy of these times

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20 users have voted.

@janis b
I can hire half the working class to shoot the other half? Hermann Goering? Or Lenin?

In today's America, you probably wouldn't have to pay them, they would do it for free.

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7 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

Daenerys's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness Half of them are champing at the bit to shoot us dissenters anyway.
So this is how the civil war starts.

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5 users have voted.

This shit is bananas.

TheOtherMaven's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Gould

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6 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

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4 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

a Nazi nor a Commie who said that, but our very own home-grown capitalist.

Although if you let capitalism steep long enough, apparently it turns into fascism. WTF.

I really, really didn't want the Marxists to be right about that.

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7 users have voted.

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@thanatokephaloides

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8 users have voted.

@humphrey
Pelosi should have ditched the facelifts and retired to dandling great-grandkids.

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6 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@humphrey

The whole purpose of these "centrist" reprobates was to turn the Democratic party into a vehicle for Reagan Republicans. That way, Koch Republicans can have the Republican party, everyone to the left of Reagan can suck it, and America can forever be forced to choose between Reagan types and Koch types. They succeeded famously.

Now, not satisfied with complete economic and political dominance, they're working on making it impossible to conceive of anything to the left of Reagan. That's why they got butthurt about Bernie and even more butthurt about the quick way America signed on with him. God forbid that the space between people's ears should fail to comply with the thousand-year Reich.

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery."
--Marcus Garvey

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7 users have voted.

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones." - Fiver

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Lookout's picture

Betting big on double wides. The elite are buying trailer parks anticipating evictions flood.

Michael Hudson is on in the second half, so the whole show was good.

It's neofuedalism, and getting worse!

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13 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

snoopydawg's picture

@Lookout

This country went to fleeing to be free to taking it back to pre 1602 mid-evil times.

Good gawd the corruption that is being exposed is probably just the top few inches of the miles deep iceberg. Outstanding job you traitors. And they haven't just grabbed every penny that was floating unattached they also polluted the earth so much that our survival is in question. Of course they won't be around to witness the end, but by gawd their families will be and one day a reckoning might come.

Hard to listen to this, LO. Thanks for posting it. Not the best thing to listen to this morning after the night Charlie and I had, but needs must and all that.

Remember lots of us thought Obama and Bernie would be our best hope for turning away from this, but both of them sold us out. Yes yes Bernie opened our eyes and created a movement and all that, but then he left us on our own to figure out how to change things. 1 or 2 progressive candidates a year winning is not going to do much to hold back what's coming.k

I'll post now or I will go on all morning.

I was surprised to see this comment on my local board in an article about the house funding the budget.

This whole political scenario is all just a huge chess game, countering moves back and forth, and guess who the pawns are? The American people. They "Politicians" are turning us against each other like rabid dogs whilst they they make themselves millionaires on our tax dollars pleading for our contributions as well. In the end the citizens of this nation will be brutalized by one another. We were once a strong patriotic nation, not so much anymore and we have politicians to thank for driving a wedge between the people they serve, it's disgraceful.

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12 users have voted.

“When police break the Law then there is no Law - just a fight for survival.” - Billy Jack

usefewersyllables's picture

casualties of the coming civil war will probably be the unfortunate folks who sign up for this work simply in order to avoid being the evictees. Sooner or later, one of these conscript crews will come up against someone who doesn't feel like being evicted, and has their "anti-tyranny" arsenal locked and loaded.

What an incredibly effective way to divide people against themselves. The ones on the firing line will just be cannon fodder, as always.

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14 users have voted.

Twice bitten, permanently shy.

If you lost your job during the closing of public life, and your unemployment compensation is now maybe $500 per week if you live in a generous state, you have been advised to take advantage of the shifting economy as Amazon and Grubhub are hiring like crazy. One of the great economic figures, Joseph Shumpeter, called it "The Creative Destruction of Capitalism." As conditions for business change mainly but not entirely due to technological advance, old operations shut down as new businesses take advantage of the changes.

The world has never seen Shumpeter's theory of creative destruction compressed into a single year as we are now trying to survive the end of the air travel, entertainment, hospitality and restaurant industries as we have known them for three generations. In each case, other industries, like Uber Evictions, are starting up now to take advantage. Millions of secure middle class jobs destroyed, X number of new independent contractor "jobs" come open.

The downward spiral accelerates.

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14 users have voted.

I cried when I wrote this song. Sue me if I play too long.

snoopydawg's picture

@fire with fire

Millions of secure middle class jobs destroyed, X number of new independent contractor "jobs" come open.

Gjohnsit wrote that 94% of new jobs created during O's tenure were part time gig economy ones and the rest were mostly part time at low wages.

The writer that is talked about in the Keiser video who died wrote a great article on how most jobs are just busy jobs and don't actually need to be done and are just so people could make money. Instead of going back to MidEvil Times the world could be on a path of leisure and peace. I will try to find that article. It was outstanding.

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10 users have voted.

“When police break the Law then there is no Law - just a fight for survival.” - Billy Jack

Since the invention of agriculture most "jobs" have been just for the rulers to stroke their egos and provide for their soldiers and flunkies so that they could enforce the stroking of their egos.
Hunter-gatherers of the world unite! (NO sarcasm)

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8 users have voted.

A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993