What are the most promising interventions and policies to improve the system of evictions in the US?

What is the current policy and services landscape for eviction innovation: of ideas and programs that intend to improve how the eviction system functions, to be fairer, less harmful, and more navigable?

Limits on how landlords can evict, treat, or charge tenants

Financial support to people at risk of eviction

 

Building People's capability to navigate the eviction process


Legal support to those dealing with an eviction

Help with housing conditions and landlord-tenant relationship

Protections after an eviction or conclusion of case

Dis-incentivizing landlords from evicting tenants





Limits on how landlords can evict, treat or charge tenants










Financial support to those at risk of eviction




 










Help with Housing Conditions






Building People's Capability to navigate the eviction process


















Protections after an eviction or conclusion of a case








Disincentivizing Landlords from Evicting Tenants




 




How can we understand and evaluate the eviction system?


Full Eviction Rates. How many people face eviction actions — including those that are evicted without any lawsuit filed against them in court? While some researchers are gathering information about court filings for evictions, this might vastly undercount the number of people involuntarily displaced from their homes via informal means, including notes from their landlords, threats from them, or other means.

Default Rates and Failure to Appear Rates. How many people who have been sued for eviction actually participate in the court process? How many file answers or make an appearance to respond to the lawsuit formally?

On-the-Ground Outcomes of Different Court Resolutions. When a landlord files an unlawful detainer or eviction lawsuit in the court, to remove a tenant, the recorded resolution in the court proceedings does not always indicate what happens to the tenant or the housing situation. The recorded resolutions might be a Default Judgment, a Settlement, or a finding by the judge at trial. How can researchers understand, though, if a person is still in their home, if they have subsequent housing issues, or what the specific terms of settlements are?

Eviction Outcome Data that preserves Eviction Masking/Protection. What are the protocols that can be used to gather specific, rich data about the outcomes of eviction outcomes — that also preserve the privacy of individuals who have been subject to evictions? How do we not make the research data a risk to people, in which future landlords, creditors, employers, or others might use the data to look up people’s past situations and use it to possibly discriminate against the person?

Demographics of eviction and outcomes. What type of people — race, gender, family situation, neighborhoods, etc — are most likely to face an eviction action? And do different types of people have different kinds of outcomes in court and afterwards?

Legal Aid outcomes. If a person gets limited or full assistance from a legal aid agency, what is their outcome in court?Are they able to represent themselves following the recommendations given? Do they experience a sense of respect, dignity, and procedural justice? And what is their housing situation after the process is over?

Self Help outcomes. If a person gets information or consultation with self-help services in court, what is their outcome in court? Are they able to represent themselves following the recommendations given? Do they experience a sense of respect, dignity, and procedural justice? And what is their housing situation after the process is over?

Eviction to Homelessness connection. If a person goes through a formal eviction, are they using homeless services in the weeks or months afterwards? How often is an eviction action linked to homelessness and housing insecurity?

Eviction to Truancy connection. If a person goes through a formal eviction, are their children more likely to have issues with consistent school attendance, and performance in school?





 

What is the status quo of the eviction system?


Key resource:  Princeton Eviction Lab’s map and data overview

On the Media radio show, from WNYC: The Scarlet E series on Eviction in America.



NYU Furman Center (2018) ‘Implementing New York City’s Universal Access to Counsel Program: Lessons for Other Jurisdictions’, Policy Brief, (December).

NYC Right to Counsel: First year results and potential for expansion, March 2019, Community Service Society of NY.

NYC Mayor’s Office of Civil Justice and New York City Human Resources Administration (2018) Universal Access to Legal Services A Report on Year One of Implementation in New York City.

McKim, J. (2019) ‘“Someone To Speak For You”: Low-Income Tenants Get Lawyers For Housing Court’, NPR.

American Bar Foundation, National Center for State Courts, and the Public Welfare Foundation. Roles Beyond Lawyers: Evaluation of the New York City Court Navigators Program. March 2017.

Seron, C. et al. (2001) ‘The Impact of Legal Counsel on Outcomes for Poor Tenants in New York City’s Housing Court: Results of a Randomized Experiment’, Law & Society Review, 35(2), p. 419.