Evictions and the Rental Market, Now and after the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had outsized impact on the rental market. Renters who have lost work have faced serious risk of eviction but have also been buoyed by a patchwork of programs and policies. Some of the burden of supporting tenants has fallen to landlords, who suffer cashflow constraints when tenants are unable to pay their rent. As the CDC moratorium on evictions has ended, we look to researchers and practitioners to understand what has happened and what comes next for tenants, landlords, and the rental market. What are the risks that remain? Are current policies managing these risks effectively? What lessons can we carry forward to ensure rental housing needs are met?
Key takeaway: Evictions, which can cause roadblocks to economic mobility, were averted in many cases during the pandemic because of policies like eviction diversion and rental assistance; such policies would be helpful even after the pandemic ends, especially if they were to reach distressed tenants earlier in the eviction process.
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Hal Martin is a policy economist in the Community Development Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. He conducts research related to housing markets, and his current work focuses on the effects of tax and rental subsidies to housing. Martin joined the Cleveland Reserve Bank in 2015. He holds a BA in economics from Principia College and an MA and PhD in economics from Georgia State University.
Davin Reed is a community development economic advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. His research uses tools from urban and labor economics to understand how urban areas are changing and how these changes affect urban residents. His current projects address questions surrounding gentrification, evictions, housing affordability, and geographic mobility. Prior to earning his doctorate, he was a research associate at the Public Policy Institute of California and at Mathematica (previously known as Mathematica Policy Research). He holds a PhD in public policy from New York University.
Dimitrios Hatzifotinos is the managing partner of Willis Law Firm and exclusively represents the multifamily community. In his work, he engages in advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels; litigates fair housing, construction, and liability lawsuits; and represents landlords in eviction proceedings. Hatzifotinos was the chair of the City of Grandview Heights Board of Zoning Appeals for nine years and is currently general counsel for the Columbus and Ohio Apartment Associations. He has been a board member of the Grandview Heights Marble Cliff Education Foundation for almost six years. He holds a JD from Capital University Law School.
Abigail Staudt is a managing attorney and leads the housing group at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Her experience includes representing tenants at risk of losing access to their subsidized and private housing, advocating for systemic change, and improving housing policies. Staudt is the cochair of the advisory board to the Office of Homeless Services in Cleveland, Ohio, and has served as the president of the board of directors of Cogswell Hall, an organization in the Detroit–Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland that provides quality low-income housing and supportive services to people with disabilities and people who were formerly homeless. She has worked at Cabrini Green Legal Aid and, while a law student, was president of the Kent Justice Foundation. Staudt holds a BS in anthropology from Santa Clara University and a JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
The views expressed in this Program on Economic Inclusion FedTalk are those of the participants and are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.