More than a million renters avoided eviction in 2021 due to expanded legal protections enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan. Now that the federal eviction moratorium is lifted, housing-insecure Americans are more likely to be evicted.
According to data from the Census, the US saw at least 1.5 million fewer eviction filings while the moratorium was in effect.
In September 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) imposed its own nationwide temporary federal moratorium on residential evictions. According to the CDC, the goal of the moratorium was to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce homelessness and overcrowded housing due to evictions. The moratorium was extended several times by the CDC until the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional on Aug. 26. The court’s majority opinion said the CDC’s authority to prevent the spread of infectious diseases didn’t extend to the halting of evictions.
Preliminary data shows that eviction filings increased more in cities without renter protections
Census data from 31 cities and six states showed eviction cases increased the first two months after the moratorium’s end and decreased in the third month. Still, there were 37% fewer evictions from August through November than the historical pre-pandemic average.
The end of the eviction restrictions affected some cities more than others. In cities where renter protections were in place, there were fewer evictions. But in cities with limited or no protections, evictions increased at a faster rate.
Between August 27, 2021, and November 26, 2021, one city exceeded its historical average for evictions. In Las Vegas, 11,799 eviction cases were filed in that time, 26% higher than the historical average. The number of evictions is the equivalent of one out of every 10 renter-occupied houses in the city. According to the Census Eviction Lab data, Las Vegas has no renter protections.
Eviction filings were 75% of the historical average for 11 cities, including Columbus, Ohio, Tampa, Fla. and Indianapolis, Ind. All but one of the 11 cities had no renter protections against evictions on the books.
In New York City 8,687 eviction cases were filed over the three months post-moratorium. That’s almost 85% lower than its historical average. Overall filing rates were much lower in cities that maintained state or local eviction moratoria or had other renter protections in place.
How did rates of housing insecurity change after the eviction moratorium expired?
One month before the eviction moratorium ended, about a quarter of Americans, 24%, were not confident they would be able to pay next month’s rent in July 2021, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. About 6% said they didn’t pay rent that month.
Neither of those figures changed much after the end of the moratorium. Confidence in paying the next month’s rent stayed between 24% and 27% from August 2021 to March 2022. The percentage of Americans not paying rent each month stayed between 5% and 6% for the same time.