The Eviction Tsunami ThatWon’t Be

filings in a typical year, so that should be the baseline those scare articles cited above should have used.) The Eviction Labs have followed five states closely though: Minnesota, Connecti- cut, Missouri, Indiana, and Delaware. And those states do not show a major uptick in filings. Remember, landlords can still file for eviction despite the moratorium. And since the first evictions filed will be the first processed when the moratorium is lifted, there’s no reason landlords have to delay. Both Minnesota and Connecticut continue to have statewide eviction moratoriums in place simultane- ously with the federal ban. When the statewide moratoriums went into effect, the number of eviction filings plummeted. In both states they have risen a bit before leveling off, but are still below what they were in March of 2020. Missouri never had a state mora- torium and saw rising filings before they leveled off when the federal moratorium was put in place. Indiana and Delaware had state moratoriums that ended before the federal moratorium. Both saw filings jump up when the state moratorium ended and then level off before the federal moratorium was enacted and stay flat ever since. There is just no evidence of a large increase in eviction filings. MOSTTENANTSARE PAYING The main reason there is not a big uptick in eviction filings is that most tenants are paying their rent. The National Multifamily Housing Council conducts a monthly survey of apart- ment owners with over 11 million units. It found that 94.6 percent of tenants paid their rent in May 2021. This is down just ever so slightly from 95.1 percent in May of 2020.


by Andrew Syrios, Stewardship Properties

s the federal eviction mora- torium continued to linger, headline after headline screamed hysteria such as the following: “According to one study, as many as 40 million people in 17 million households risk eviction by the end of the year.” - The New York Times “Mass evictions are a looming threat to 19-23 million American renters.” - Aspen Institute “As many as 6.7 million rent-bur- dened households could face eviction once enhanced federal unemployment insurance expires at the end of July.” - CNBC It would seem we are on the cusp of what The Las Vegas Review-Jour - nal calls a “tsunami of evictions.” However, those three article titles I cited above are from July 1 to August 21 of 2020 . In other words, they were before the federal moratorium was in place. All these scare stories have been coming out for well over a year. “THE POTENTIAL OF BEINGAT RISK OF FACINGAN EVICTION” The problems with these scare stories are many but they boil down to two main issues. The first is that there is no base - line. If 40 million people are “facing eviction” now, how many were facing A

eviction in, say, August of 2018? Is 40 million a lot? It sounds like a lot but just because the number sounds high, that doesn’t make it abnormal. The reason it’s not necessarily abnormal is because of the second issue. The words they use are always slippery, i.e., “facing,” “at risk of,” “could potentially,” etc. What exactly does it even mean to “be at risk of” eviction? Unfortunate- ly, many Americans live paycheck to paycheck and under such circum- stances they will always “be at risk of” eviction to some degree or anoth- er. Indeed, learning to defer gratifi - cation and live below your expens- es is, in my judgement, the most important thing someone can do to become financially independent. COVID, the lockdowns and subse- quent economic recession certainly made things worse. But that doesn’t mean a catastrophe is imminent.


The Eviction Lab at Princeton Uni - versity is probably the best source of data for eviction filings nationwide. It is also extremely pro-tenant so they are not going to be biased in such a way that would help my argument. While they have a detailed study up to 2016, they don’t have more recent national data. (Although they do note that there are 3.7 million eviction

58 | think realty magazine :: september 2021

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