Disgraceful New Gig Economy App Wants To Be ‘Uber, But For Evicting People’
Rents are going down and there is an eviction moratorium in place, so you’d think things would be pretty slow in the eviction department right now. But some ruthless landlords are flouting the law and performing evictions anyway, and Vice reports on a phenomenally cruel new app that they call “Uber, But for Evicting People.”
The app is called Civvl, which is a play on the word ‘civil,’ which is ironic since this is not civil at all. Their Craigslist ads heartlessly brag that “There is plenty of work due to the dismal economy,” and their website job application promises you can “Get paid serious money and work around your own schedule!” basically to evict people from their homes and throw their possessions out on the street.
We did not find any Civvl listings in the Bay Area, but they are hiring in Sacramento and several other U.S. cities, under the job listing “FORECLOSURE MOVERS/ EVICTION JUNK HAULER / PROCESS SERVERS WANTED.” Needless to say, this is a gig position, so their “Earn up to $125/hr” claim does not come with any guarantee of minimum wage, gas and vehicle compensation, or worker’s comp and healthcare coverage when you very deservedly get your ass kicked for performing unsanctioned and legally questionable evictions of people’s homes.
To answer your obvious question: No, this is probably not legal — not in terms of the process server jobs, at least. There are process server requirements in the state of California, including that you be licensed by your county and that you post a $2,000 bond or cash deposit. Civvl’s process server application says that “We don’t supervise, direct or control your work– you are responsible for how you present yourself to your Clients.” In other words, there is no legal oversight or guidance, you just evict people, throw their shit out, and get the fuck out as quickly as possible.
Do you really “get paid serious money”? Apparently you do not! User reviews of the app note that “they take a 30% fee for each job” and also that “Civvl can change the user fee.” So you get paid jack shit for doing evil landlords’ dirty work for them, while blatantly ignoring tenants’ due process rights.
And the worst of this is how those tenants are in dire financial straits, so some founder-bro jagoffs are monetizing other people in dire financial straits by utilizing them as sub-minimum wage muscle.
Renter advocates Autonomous Tenants Union said in a statement to Vice that “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.”
2020 has had a way of generating awful new timelines of reality, but this might create one of the most evil Peter Thiel-Silicon Valley nightmare scenarios possible — that financially desperate unemployed people might sign up for the app just to evict themselves, so they can at least make a few greasy dollars off the process.