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Weekly eviction filings in 2020 and 2021 as a % of pre-pandemic norm, USA

COVID-19Covid housing report 3Housing & homelessness

In the USA.  series of eviction moratoriums from multiple agencies and levels of government were introduced over the period of the pandemic, many of which had lapsed by July 2020. Nationally, Congress included evictorion moratorium in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which commenced on 27 March 2020. This appled to ‘federally related properties’, including propoerties supported by federally-backed finance or occupied by tenants with Housing Choice vouchers. For the properties it coered, it prohibited the commencement and enforcement of eviction proceedings for unpaid rent until 23 August 2020.

From 4 September 2020, two weeks after the CARES Act expired, the CDC National moratorium was imposed, which covered all tenants meeting certain income and hardship criteria, including that they had applied for government assistance and would be at risk of homelessness or overcrowding if evicted. Tenants seeking the moratorium protection were required to declare their eligibility to their landlord. Like its CARES Act predecessor, the CDC moratorium prohibited landlords from commencing or enforcing eviction proceedings for non-payment of rent. This moratorium was supposed to expire on 31 December 2020, but it was extende to 31 January 2021, and prolonged a further three times by the CDC. It was eventually struck down on 23 August 2021, and in early 2022 a handful of municipal moratoriums, mostly in California, remain.

This figure analyses evictions data sourced by Eviction Lab, Hepburn et al. (2021), who calculated that eviction application rates in the period March-December 2020 were 65% below their historical average, with the greatest reduction in the period of the CARES Act moratorium and early sub-national moratoriums. The spike in eviction applications in the two-week gap between the two national moratoriums  also indicates the strong direct effect of these restrictions. Over the period of the CDC moratorium, Rangel et al. (2021) calculate that eviction applications were down 53% on historical average levels. After its sudden cancellation, eviction application rates lifted, although only to 63% of their historic average (Hass et al. 2021). Over the combined moratorium periods an estimated 2.45 million evictions had been avoided by early 2021 (Rangel et al. 2021).

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