The Effect of State & Local Laws on Evictions
A congressionally-directed study to investigate evictions as a legal process and the scope of unmet legal needs involving eviction at the state and local level.
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has launched a congressionally-directed study to investigate the unmet legal needs surrounding eviction in the United States. This research is particularly timely as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the lives and financial security of people across the country. This study will focus on evictions as a legal process and identify the scope of unmet legal needs involving eviction at the State and local level. The study will employ a multi-site, comparative approach to explore how variations in evictions laws and legal services effect the prevalence of evictions at the local level. The collective findings from these initiatives and associated research briefs will shed light on the eviction crisis and will empower legal aid providers with the information required to better serve their clients. The project will conclude in December 2021 with a summary report and rollout.
LSC Eviction Laws Database
LSC has partnered with Temple University’s Center for Public Health Law Research to create the Eviction Laws Database, a comprehensive online tool that allows users to explore the entire legal process of eviction – from pre-filing to post-judgment – in communities across the country.
On the Brink of Eviction: Trends in Filings Under State and Federal Moratoria
This second brief examines some of the protections various states and the CDC moratoria have offered renters since March 2020, and the impact of those policies.
The LSC Eviction Tracker is an easy-to-use interactive online tool that gives the public real-time access to data on eviction filings in their home county and others across the U.S. The Tracker currently features court data for over 400 counties in 15 states, and LSC will continue adding new locations as they become available.
A Common Story: The Eviction Process in Shelby County, TN
This initial brief provides a high-level overview of key steps in the legal eviction process and introduces the general focus area of LSC's study of eviction. The brief features the eviction process In Shelby County, Tennessee, as it is typical of many U.S. counties.
Little is known about the ways in which state and local affect the likelihood of evictions at the local level. In order to analyze this relationship, LSC has partnered with the Center for Public Health Law Research (CPHLR) at Temple University to construct a comprehensive database of laws and procedures that govern the legal eviction process. The database will collect information from all fifty states, DC, Puerto Rico and the outer lying territories and will serve as a critical resource for research and advocacy. In addition to state-level data, the project will gather information about variation in laws and procedures below the state level, in 30 locales. Selection factors for this part of the project include variability in local laws and procedures, areas with high rates of eviction, variations in the availability of local advocates, among others.
Matt Desmond and his colleagues at Princeton University’s Eviction Lab have done a great deal to raise awareness about the number of eviction filed in state courts and the number of final eviction orders. But there are many steps in the legal process that occur between these two important milestones. Unfortunately, the court process for eviction matters has received limited scholarly attention because of the difficulty in accessing case-level data from state courts. LSC’s State Court Civil Data Project provides a unique opportunity to leverage millions of case records to understand how eviction actions are managed in hundreds of local courts across the country. These data will be used to examine the parties involved in eviction matters, how the eviction legal process varies across jurisdictions, the rates and effectiveness of legal representation, and other important trends. The data are captured in near-real time and will provide actionable insights for legal service providers, court managers and policymakers.
Understanding the range of legal service interventions that are available to low income individuals and families is a critical step to developing strategies that increase access to services. Through the use of national surveys, interviews and field work, LSC will catalog eviction legal services at the state level, highlight innovative approaches to resolve landlord/tenant disputes, and identify effective practices for measuring and monitoring performance of legal services. Special attention will be paid to strategies that increase the participation of private attorneys to provide pro bono services in eviction matters.
Meet the Advisory Board
The Advisory Board includes diverse representation from a variety of fields: housing advocacy, social science research, access to justice, legal research, court representation, landlord advocacy, the LSC board, and LSC grantees.
FOCUS: Evictions [Tennessee Bar Journal, 3/1/21]
Shelby County is poster child in national eviction study [Daily Memphian, 1/21/21]
You can lose your kids, home and freedom without ever seeing a lawyer. It’s a profound injustice. [Washington Post Editorial Board, 2/26/21]
Averting an Eviction Crisis [Urban Institute/Moody’s Analytics, 1/25/21]
Eviction, Health Inequity, and the Spread of COVID-19: Housing Policy as a Primary Pandemic Mitigation Strategy [Journal of Urban Health, 1/7/21]
Serial Filing: How Landlords Use the Threat of Eviction [City & Community, 5/15/19]