Eviction Filings Higher After End of Federal Moratorium

The number of evictions filed has been on the rise since a Supreme Court decision this past summer that effectively ended the federal government’s yearlong ban on residential evictions, according to data from cities around the country.

On average, eviction filings increased by more than 20% over the three months between the court’s Aug. 26 decision and the Thanksgiving weekend, compared with the final three months the federal ban was in place, according to the data tracked across 31 major U.S. cities by Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.

Despite the recent increases, evictions remain below their pre-pandemic average because of orders by the federal government and various state and local laws enacted since March 2020 to curb evictions during the health crisis. Filings across the 31 cities averaged less than half of pre-pandemic levels in the three months before the Supreme Court’s ruling, according to the data.

However, as landlords filed more evictions in the three months after the ruling, 11 of the cities came within at least 75% of the number of evictions that would be expected for that time in a typical year, according to the data. Only Las Vegas had a higher number of eviction filings during the three months compared with its pre-pandemic average.

The biggest increases were in areas where state and local laws provide little or no government protection for renters facing eviction, such as Las Vegas and South Carolina’s Greenville, according to the Eviction Lab. Other cities with no eviction protections included Houston, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jacksonville, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; and St. Louis, Missouri.

Increases in filings were much lower in cities tracked by the Eviction Lab that maintained state or local eviction protection laws such as New York City, Texas’ capital city of Austin and the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

The Supreme Court decision in August upheld a lower court ruling that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its authority when it extended the nationwide ban on evictions first enacted nearly a year earlier.

The Princeton Eviction Lab program cited a variety of potential reasons for why evictions remain below their pre-pandemic averages in most cities. They range from changes in how landlords collect rent, relying less on the threat of eviction, to the infusion of billions of dollars in federal emergency rent relief and government stimulus payments.

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