FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2022
Assefash Makonnen | Communications Manager | firstname.lastname@example.org |(646) 629-7131
AFRICAN COMMUNITIES TOGETHER FILES COMPLAINT WITH FHFA AND FREDDIE MAC ABOUT CORPORATE LANDLORD, CIM GROUP
Alexandria, VA: African immigrant-led advocacy group, African Communities Together (ACT), has filed a complaint with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and Freddie Mac about the unaffordable rent increases and predatory practices of Los Angeles-based private equity firm, the CIM Group, that run contrary to Freddie Mac’s stated commitment to provide and preserve affordable workforce housing.
In 2020, CIM received financing from Freddie Mac for its purchase of Southern Towers, a five-building apartment complex in Alexandria, Virginia, that has been home to thousands of hardworking blue-collar families, the majority of whom are African immigrants.
According to the complaint, CIM’s practices at Southern Towers violate the company’s obligation as a landlord financed by Freddie Mac and are grounds for Freddie Mac to make CIM’s loan immediately payable and to refuse to fund any future CIM projects.
The complaint detailed CIM’s predatory actions, including:
- Improper Eviction Notices: CIM’s eviction practices have violated the federal CARES Act, which requires landlords of properties financed by Freddie Mac to provide tenants a 30-day notice to vacate. Instead, CIM has given tenants just a 5-day notice to move out.
- Unaffordable rent increases: CIM has increased rents to levels that are unaffordable for blue-collar tenants. While CIM maintains that their rent increases range between 2%-5%, tenants report increases closer to 9% and higher. One tenant recently received a lease renewal with a 14.8% rent increase.
- Unreasonable pricing practices: CIM has imposed additional costs on tenants on top of the unreasonable rent increases. Prior to CIM’s purchase of Southern Towers, utilities were included in tenants’ monthly rents. CIM is now charging tenants extra for utilities. CIM has also increased parking costs and is charging parking fees that are nearly double the parking costs of neighboring properties.
- Unresolved health and safety hazards: CIM has failed to adequately and promptly correct leaks, mold, pest infestations, and other unsafe living conditions about which tenants have complained to CIM.
Tenants of Southern Towers and advocates from African Communities Together, have been calling on CIM to address these concerns for two years, but have yet to see significant action from the landlord.
African Communities Together (ACT) is a national nonprofit dedicated towards improving the lives of African immigrants in the United States, and empowers African immigrants to integrate socially, advance economically and engage civically.