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Data Updates: Measuring Evictions during the COVID-19 Crisis

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These data updates capture weekly eviction filing counts for 63 jurisdictions across the US, representing approximately 13 percent of renter households in the country. To learn more about our methods and to read an in-depth analysis of policy effects on eviction filings, see Measuring Evictions during the COVID-19 Crisis, published in July 2020. Since the report was published, we continue to make methodological improvements. See below for a list of changes.

The data shared here is part of an ongoing research project and is subject to revision. To share corrections or observations, please contact Hal Martin (hal.martin@clev.frb.org). Data will be updated regularly. Unless otherwise specified, all dates in this report refer to the year 2020.

Details of pandemic-related eviction policy vary greatly from place to place. We classify jurisdictions as having “filing bans” if they have policies that range from preventing a landlord from filing any new eviction cases to prohibiting new filings for only non-payment or crisis-related reasons. We classify jurisdictions as having “proceeding bans” if they took actions ranging from closing the court system for all hearings to permitting hearings but preventing evictions from proceeding in cases attributable to COVID-related reasons. We classify jurisdictions as “other” if they have either no crisis-related protections or any of a variety of measures not covered by the ranges described above.

The chart below shows the average year-over-year changes in eviction filings among cities and counties that fall under one of three levels of temporary eviction protections. Between August 22 and August 31, average eviction filings in places with proceeding bans only fell to 49.8 percent below their levels one year ago, while filings in places with at least a filing ban rose to 91.3 percent below their levels one year prior. Average eviction filings rose to 40.1 percent below their levels one year ago in the cities and counties that currently have no blanket eviction bans in place (other). Dashed lines indicate provisional eviction filing counts that are subject to revision.

Jurisdiction Charts

The chart below shows how policies governing evictions are changing over time in the places we monitor. The regions in this graph represent the share of the renter households in our sample that are covered by each policy type over time. As of August 31, 36 percent of the sample had at least a filing ban, 20 percent had a proceeding ban, and 44 percent had neither a filing nor proceeding ban in place.

Changes and Notes

September 10

  • An order by the Center for Disease Control effective from September 4 through December 31 provided allows tenants to halt a residential eviction with a declaration to their landlord.
  • Policies shown in Texas jurisdictions have been revised following consultation with local courts and additional research.

September 1

  • Since the July report, pandemic policy regarding evictions has continued to evolve. What was called a “hearing ban” in the original report is now grouped with a broader set of policies we refer to as “proceeding bans.” Filing bans are now grouped together whether they are accompanied by a hearing ban or not. What was called “no bans” in the original report is now grouped with a broader set of policies we refer to as “other.”
  • Since the July report, we have added data for 19 additional jurisdictions.
  • In the July report, eviction filing counts reflected the court dockets as of the day following the end of the collection period. Many court systems make minor changes to court dockets after the fact, causing the counts for a given period to change over time. Most of these changes are minor, and most occur within three weeks of the original collection period. We now revise eviction filing counts based on revisions to dockets up to three periods in arrears. It is possible that further changes to dockets occur, but the data above will not capture changes to data more than three weeks old. Data that is subject to future revision is indicated with a dashed line.
  • In the July report, we undercounted filings in Palm Beach and Sarasota Counties in Florida due to a change in court reporting protocols in early 2020. The data above reflects updated filing counts that account for the protocol changes.
  • Since the July report was published, we identified seven observations that were originally transcribed incorrectly from the court docket systems. The data above includes corrected counts for these observations.
  • When possible, we filter commercial evictions through the court docket systems before collecting eviction filing counts. Nonetheless, commercial evictions are included in the total counts derived in many jurisdictions . These are generally a minor portion of overall eviction filings, but because of our data-collection method, they cannot be regularly disentangled from the totals.

The author thanks Layisha Bailey, Rebecca Cowin, Cornelius Johnson, and Clare Stevens for research assistance.

Suggested citation: Martin, Hal. 2020. Data Updates: Measuring Evictions during the COVID-19 Crisis. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. (access date). https://www.clevelandfed.org/en/newsroom-and-events/publications/community-development-briefs/db-20200901-data-updates-measuring-evictions-during-the-covid-19-crisis.aspx

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