Evictions are soaring. Affordable housing advocates warned this was coming.
Eviction rates are soaring in some cities and states throughout the U.S., and in some cases are up 50 percent or more when compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The higher rates appear to be linked to increased rents and a shortage of affordable housing stock as well as to the end of a federal moratorium on evictions and the expiration of rental assistance programs approved by Congress.
Princeton University’s Eviction Lab tracks evictions in 34 cities and ten states nationwide. Researchers estimate that in a typical year, landlords file 3.6 million eviction notices.
Although overall national figures on the exact number of evictions appear not to exist, a look at individual cities and states is worrisome.
In Minneapolis/St. Paul, filings in May increased 63 percent above the average recorded before the pandemic. In Houston, filings in May were 50 percent greater than their pre-pandemic levels. Unusually high eviction filings were also recorded in Las Vegas, Nashville, and Phoenix, according to an Associated Press analysis of the Eviction Lab data
An Eviction Lab analysis found that a nationwide moratorium on evictions put in place during the pandemic sharply reduced the number of evictions. The analysis shows that there were an estimated 800,000 fewer evictions during the moratorium compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Before the pandemic, about one in six renters faced an eviction filing, but the number fell to around 1 in 12 between the start of the pandemic and the end of 2021, the analysis found.
Now, of course, there is no national moratorium on evictions, and emergency rental assistance authorized by Congress has largely all been distributed.
“Protections have ended, the federal moratorium is obviously over, and emergency rental assistance money has dried up in most places,” Daniel Grubbs-Donovan, a Research Specialist at Eviction Lab told the Associated Press. “Across the country, low-income renters are in an even worse situation than before the pandemic due to things like massive increases in rent during the pandemic, inflation, and other pandemic-era related financial difficulties.”
The higher eviction rates come as a new study shows that full-time workers nationwide need to earn more than $23 an hour to afford a modest one-bedroom rental. The report, issued last week by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, estimated the hourly wages necessary for full-time workers to afford either a one- or two-bedroom rental without paying more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent.
The report found that full-time employees need $23.67 per hour to afford a fair market, one-bedroom rental home without exceeding the 30 percent threshold and $28.58 per hour to afford a two-bedroom rental home.
“Stable, affordable homes are a prerequisite for basic well-being, and no person should face the danger of losing their home,” NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel said in a statement. “Yet too many low-income renters are facing housing instability as housing costs rise and pandemic-era safety new programs expire.”
NLIHC has estimated that the U.S. faces a shortfall of 7.3 million affordable housing units.