Thursday, June 11, 2020

New data released today on describe a patchwork landscape of laws governing eviction in 40 of the largest US cities. Nearly 1 million households are evicted from their homes each year, a number that is likely compounded by the impact of COVID-19.

Twelve states will lift their moratoriums on eviction between June 15 and August 31, affecting five of the 40 cities on the new LawAtlas maps — Charlotte, NC, Jacksonville, FL, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh.

“Eviction is a looming crisis as we begin to lift out of the pandemic. When the moratoriums end, those states will likely see a flood of filings,” said Megan Hatch, PhD, a CPHLR Research Fellow and Associate Professor at Cleveland State University who served as the subject matter expert for this project. “These data offer a blueprint for what the eviction process will look like, and can provide valuable insight on how it varies across the country.”

Certain characteristics of eviction law may exacerbate some of the impact. For example, there is considerable variety among the cities captured in the number of days’ notice a tenant must be given before a landlord my file for eviction in cases where rent has gone unpaid — from no days’ notice to up to two weeks in some cities.

And, in three cities — Jacksonville, Las Vegas, and Minneapolis — a landlord need only wait 24 hours after receiving an eviction judgment to take possession of the property and evict the tenant.

“Even before the pandemic, eviction was linked with poor physical and mental health outcomes, including high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and stress, and perpetuated racial inequity since they disproportionately affect black renters,” said Hatch. “COVID-19 only intensifies what we’re already seeing in the US housing crisis.”

The dataset captures state, county and city-level laws and court rules in effect as of August 1, 2018 in the 10 largest cities in each of the four Census regions. The data identify why a landlord may evict their tenant, the circumstances in which a landlord must accept a tenant’s attempt to address a violation, requirements that dictate the notice tenants must receive in advance of an eviction, details of the legal process required to evict a tenant, and the rules that govern post-judgment proceedings.

“This dataset is the only comprehensive resource on eviction law at the city level that provides not only the proper citations, but also the full text of the law in each city,” said Joshua Waimberg, JD, MBA, Legal Training Manager at the Center for Public Health Law Research, and lead researcher on this project. “It’s our hope that researchers, advocates and others will be able to use these data to better understand the eviction process in the US, and to support their work to improve upon it.”

The data join five other housing-focused datasets on Explore all of the Center’s housing law research here.