Preliminary Evaluation of CDC Eviction Moratorium Shows Significant Decrease in Eviction Filings

Eviction Lab released “Preliminary Analysis: 11 months of the CDC Moratorium,” an evaluation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eviction moratorium as it existed between September 4, 2020 and July 31, 2021. Using data from Eviction Lab’s Eviction Tracking System (ETS), researchers estimated that the CDC eviction moratorium alone prevented at least 1.55 million eviction filings across the country, and that state and local eviction protections prevented an additional 900,000 eviction filings throughout the country. Eviction Lab researchers observed that fewer than half as many eviction cases as normal were filed in the jurisdictions they monitored; in some jurisdictions with additional eviction moratoriums the decrease in filings was even more significant.

Despite a decrease in the number of evictions, researchers found that racial and geographic disparities in eviction patterns persisted through the moratorium. Black tenants, who bore the largest share of eviction filings before the pandemic, continued to bear the largest share of eviction filings during the eviction moratorium. Census tracts that had high rates of eviction filings before the pandemic continued to have high rates of eviction filings during the eviction moratorium. The researchers concluded that protections afforded by the CDC moratorium helped reduce the threat of displacement broadly but did not address historical racial, gender, or geographic disparities.  

Eviction Lab tracked eviction filings across 31 cities and six states. Researchers used these data as a basis for estimating eviction patterns nationally, using regression to extrapolate the data. Between September 4, 2020 and July 31, 2021 ETS tracked 368,398 eviction filings across these jurisdictions, fewer than half (47.2% fewer) of expected eviction filings during the same period in a typical year. The authors estimate that the combination of local, state, and federal eviction moratoriums prevented at least 2.45 million eviction filings since the start of the pandemic.

Tenants experienced weaker or stronger protection against eviction based on local interpretation and implementation of the CDC order. Localities that offered weaker protections—such as Las Vegas, NV and Columbus, OH—saw eviction filing rates closer to historical average. Conversely, localities with stronger protections, such as Austin, TX and the Twin Cities, MN, saw filings less than 12% of the historical average.

The CDC eviction moratorium did not change historical patterns of where evictions most often occur and what demographic groups bear a great share of evictions. Previous research found that a few Census tracts per city account for an outsized share of each city’s evictions. Neighborhoods with high eviction filings prior to the pandemic tended to be the same neighborhoods that had the highest rates during the CDC moratorium. Similarly, Black renters continued to bear a greater share of eviction filings. Pre-pandemic, Black renters made up 22% of all renters tracked by the ETS but received 35% of eviction filings. During the CDC moratorium, Black renters received 33% of filings.

To better understand eviction filings during the pandemic, Eviction Lab made two significant changes to the ETS. First, Eviction Lab is now tracking how much landlords claim in back rent, late fees, and damages when filing cases. Second, ETS is now tracking which buildings in 12 cities are responsible for the most eviction filings during the pandemic. In Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Dallas, more than one third of all pandemic-related eviction filings came from just 100 buildings.

Read the report here: