Thirty-one states and 66 localities around the country have passed or implemented more than 150 new laws and policies since January 2021 to protect tenants from eviction and keep them stably housed. According to a new Eviction Lab report, these tenant protections, as well as new social safety net programs like emergency rental assistance (ERA), helped prevent an estimated 1.36 million evictions in 2021. Although the economic effects of the pandemic led to a doubling in the number of renters at risk of eviction, eviction filings in 2021 were 50% of the historical average. Learn more about the new tenant protections on NLIHC’s Tenant Protections webpage at: https://nlihc.org/tenant-protections
NLIHC’s End Rental Arrears to Stop Evictions (ERASE) team has been tracking the passage of tenant protections during the pandemic in its State and Local ERASE Tenant Protections Database. The searchable database lists ERA-related laws and policies and long-term tenant protections, such as right to counsel, source-of-income discrimination laws, just cause eviction legislation, and sealed or expunged eviction records legislation. The database also includes laws and measures enacted so far this year, including an extension of California’s safe harbor law for ERA applicants awaiting rental assistance to June 2022; Utah’s eviction records expungement legislation; a source-of-income law passed in Illinois; and right-to-counsel ordinances passed in Detroit and New Orleans.
Tenant protections such as these were also the subject of a report released by NLIHC in January 2022. The report, Tenant Protections and Emergency Rental Assistance during and beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic, provides a descriptive analysis of tenant protections and ERA-related policies enacted or implemented by states and local governments in 2021. The protections and policies examined in the report include state and local eviction moratoriums; pauses on the eviction process to allow for ERA processing; mandates to increase information about ERA and limit tenant fees; increases to tenant representation during the eviction process; and protections that reduce discrimination and promote housing stability.
NLIHC released a follow-up report in May. That report, Promoting Housing Stability through Just Cause Eviction Legislation, provides an overview of one type of tenant protection: just cause laws. Just cause – also known as “good cause” or “for cause” – eviction laws are tenant protections that prevent evictions and promote housing stability by limiting the causes for which a landlord can evict a tenant or refuse to renew a tenant’s lease when the tenant is not at fault or in violation of any law. These legal protections can make the lease renewal process more predictable; empower tenants to advocate for better living conditions without fear of retaliation; provide limits on exorbitant rental increases to prevent renters from becoming extremely rent-burdened or experiencing displacement; and promote long-term housing stability for low-income and marginalized renters.
NLIHC will continue to update the State and Local ERASE Tenant Protections Database as we learn about the passage of new laws and policies. If you know of any recent legislation passed in your city, county, or state, please share this information with the ERASE team by contacting ERASE Project Coordinator Jade Vasquez at [email protected]
To learn more, visit NLIHC’s Tenant Protections Resources page at: https://nlihc.org/tenant-protections