Research and Advocacy
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted eviction as a public health crisis and exacerbated the problem. The authors argue that national recognition of housing as a social determinant of health and fundamental need may catalyze the substantial, systemic changes necessary to ensure that everyone has a safe, stable, and affordable home.
The Urban Institute, in collaboration with Avail, is tracking monthly rent payments in units owned by independent mom-and-pop landlords to see how the pandemic and ongoing recovery efforts have impacted renters and owners of these properties. Learn more here.
The New York Times reports that while eviction filings remain below pre-pandemic rates, the numbers do not capture evictions filed during the pandemic but are only now being executed. The end of the eviction moratorium came as rents surge far beyond pre-COVID prices and the budgets of many renters. Skyrocketing rents are dulling the effectiveness of emergency rental assistance as landlords choose not to renew leases and to increase rents.
State and Local News
Arizona has spent only 5% of the $568 million in federal emergency rental assistance (ERA) funds. According to the Eviction Lab, there have been nearly 53,000 evictions filed in Maricopa County since the pandemic started. Of those filings, 743 occurred in the last week of September after the eviction moratorium ended.
Axios Atlanta reports that as thousands of Atlanta residents face eviction, City Councilman Michael Julian Bond introduced a proposal that would provide eviction defense services to low-income tenants. As of October 1, there have been 17,552 evictions filed in Atlanta since the pandemic started.
Evictions in Knox County have spiked since the federal eviction moratorium was lifted in August. The onslaught of evictions has compounded a COVID-fueled real estate boom and a growing affordability crisis. The confluence of factors is increasing homelessness in Knox County, with housing officials seeing unprecedented levels of need.
The immigrant advocacy organization CASA gathered dozens of advocates and tenants at the largest apartment complex in Prince Georges County on October 18 to demand that the landlord – Fieldstone Properties – work with tenants to prevent evictions. CASA claims the complex has refused to help many renters, including by not offering payment plan agreements. CASA says the owners of the complex have obtained more than 180 writs of eviction and have carried out at least 11 of them. Prince George’s County officials announced county employees would be on site this week to help tenants apply for rental assistance and that those in danger of being evicted would have their applications fast-tracked.
Evictions across Minnesota are increasing as the state’s eviction moratorium bridge gradually eases. A 15-day notice is no longer required before an eviction notice is filed over nonpayment of rent, and lease terminations can occur more easily now. Minnesota tenants can be protected from eviction if they have an active application for emergency rental assistance. To date, RentHelpMN has received nearly 50,000 applications for rental or utility assistance, and about $144 million has been distributed.
Eviction cases ending with a judgment for an immediate eviction have dropped from 90% to 2% in Douglas County since the Tenant Assistance Program (TAP) was launched. Through the program, a collaboration among over 20 organizations, volunteer lawyers provide legal representation for residents facing eviction. TAP helps connect tenants to emergency rental assistance and has partnered with Legal Aid of Nebraska on outreach efforts.
There are available resources to help Camden tenants behind on rent and utility payments. The Camden County RECOVERS program is providing rent and utility relief. Additional assistance is available through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program Phase II. Residents can apply here.
Bloomberg reports New York’s biggest landlord group sued to block a law extending the state’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium. The law, signed by Governor Kathy Hochul on September 2, extends the statewide eviction moratorium through January 15, 2022. The landlords are seeking a preliminary injunction to suspend the moratorium while the case proceeds.
Housing advocates in Cuyahoga County are urging officials to establish an eviction prevention and diversion program to address an influx of eviction cases in the coming months. The proposal would ensure access to counsel to prevent evictions, connect tenants and landlords to rental assistance, and prevent property tax revenue loss and its downstream effects. Read the proposal from the Northeast Ohio community-based agencies.
The Oregonian reports thousands of Oregon renters are in imminent danger of eviction because the state has taken too long to process emergency rental assistance applications. Nearly 11,900 renters who applied to the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program have had their eviction protections time out as they continue to wait for the applications to be processed. Eviction filings have increased significantly since Oregon’s eviction moratorium expired. According to data compiled by the Oregon Law Center, there were nearly 1,300 eviction filings for nonpayment of rent across the state between July and September and 102 through the first 10 days of October
Local service providers in Marion and Polk counties say the number of households requesting rental assistance may soon eclipse available aid. As of October 8, the counties have received 5,938 applications for the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program, with the vast majority of applicants (85%) from Marion County. The dearth of Polk County applicants likely points to rural communities’ lack of internet access.
A confluence of factors is impacting affordable housing in Oak Ridge. These factors include the end of the federal eviction moratorium, ongoing economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and landlords choosing to renovate old houses rather than giving them to people with housing vouchers. These issues have led to increases in families experiencing homelessness for the first time.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown announced on October 14 they have extended their eviction protections through December 31, 2021. The orders were set to expire on October 15. The Austin City Council approved an additional $6.6 million in rental assistance. Learn about rental assistance programs in Travis County and Austin.
Evictions are beginning to trend up throughout Harris County after the federal eviction moratorium ended. More than 1,200 cases were filed the week of September 20, which was the highest weekly number since before the pandemic.
The San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) announced on October 18 it was extending the eviction moratorium for more than 10,000 residents in its public or mixed-income housing communities through March 1, 2022. SAHA has called on the City of San Antonio and Bexar County to designate funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help clear approximately $3 million in debt currently owed by more than 2,700 SAHA residents.
The Washington Post reports some eviction filings for nonpayment of rent resumed on October 12 in D.C. as the city winds down its eviction protections. Landlords can proceed with eviction filings in cases where tenants owe at least $600, and the landlord has applied for rent relief funds from D.C.’s STAY program. This provision means either the landlord applied for aid, but the tenant failed to provide the required information, or the relief funds did not cover the full overdue balance. D.C. has spent 73% of its share of $200 million in federal rent relief funds.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- HOME-ARP Notice Review Webinar Series, Fall 2021 [Materials posted]
- Notice PIH 2021-29/H 2021-06: Supplemental Guidance to the Interim Final Rule ‘Extension of Time and Required Disclosures for Notification of Nonpayment of Rent’ – October 7, 2021 (see Memo, 10/18)
- COVID-19 EHV Waiver and Alternative Requirements Summary Table – October 2021