Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court moved to block the temporary ban placed on evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this, millions of households across the country risk losing their homes. It is likely that evictions will be the worst in cities that were hit hardest by the pandemic, sparking an eviction crisis across the country. Here is what you should know:
1. How vast will the impact be?
With the loss of eviction protections, approximately 750,000 households could be evicted this year alone. In total, 3.5 million households have the potential to lose their homes. While renters in a handful of larger states such as California and New York still have eviction protections under state laws, most states do not have such protections in place. According to Goldman Sachs, approximately 90% of people across the country will lose access to these emergency protections by Q4 2021.
2. How does the housing market come into play?
In a normal or down housing market, many landlords would be willing to negotiate with their tenants or wait around for federal aid. However, due to the strong housing and rental market at present, there is a greater chance that landlords will move to evict tenants as they are more easily replaced. In a market like this, there is far less incentive for landlords to wait for federal aid or to negotiate with tenants that are behind on rent.
3. What are the potential consequences for those that are evicted?
Being evicted is a potentially traumatizing experience for both adults and children. Psychological trauma, suicide, homelessness, and loss of access to credit are just a few of the many potential impacts on those that are evicted. For low-income tenants, they are often forced to move into areas that have higher crime and fewer resources, risking their physical safety and wellbeing. These consequences are further enhanced by the fact that we are still facing a global pandemic.
4. Which communities will be hit hardest by this crisis?
Black communities are likely to be hit the hardest. Racial disparities in housing have only worsened since the pandemic began. As we discussed in one of our recent Ask Angie articles, the racial disparities among evicted Americans are staggering, with evictions taking place in predominantly Black neighborhoods in much greater density than others.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated historical racial inequities in housing security, disproportionately affecting renter households and bringing the dangers of housing instability and evictions into stark relief. Eviction moratoriums and emergency protections for renters—in addition to quarantines and social distancing—can be an effective public health measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” - Brookings Institution
5. What steps should one take if they are served with an eviction notice?
If you have been served an eviction notice, you will need to consider the following:
Why are you being evicted?
Is the landlord's reason true? Is there evidence to support it?
Did the landlord follow proper procedures?
Were you given notice and proper service?
What defenses can you raise?
Upon receiving an eviction notice, it is important to review the dispossessory affidavit quickly and respond within 7 days. In the answer, the tenant should write out any defenses to the eviction and write-out any counterclaims that you may have (e.g. failure to repair, personal injuries, alternative housing expenses). It is important to be comprehensive in your response to preserve your claims.
Visit our landlord tenant law practice page to learn more about tenant rights, eviction defense, illegal evictions, and more.
Sources: CBS News