New Eviction Laws Database Reveals Striking Differences in Eviction Processes Around the Country

WASHINGTON ­— The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) launched the LSC Eviction Laws Database today, a new online tool that will aid users in better understanding the significant variation in eviction laws across the country and the effect these differences have on eviction outcomes. LSC produced the database in partnership with the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University's Beasley School of Law. 

Users can examine the entire eviction legal process, from pre-filing to post-judgment, in different communities around the country. The database has provided early insights on the eviction process, including:

  • Only four states and Washington, D.C., have “just cause” statutes requiring landlords to disclose a clearly defined reason for removing a tenant from a rental property. In the vast majority of states, landlords are able to evict the tenant at-will.
  • Only six states —­ Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington — require that eviction summonses include information on how tenants can access legal aid services.
  • The majority of states/territories require that tenants pay a bond in order to appeal an eviction judgment. Those unable to pay cannot appeal. 
  • Court fees that landlords must pay to file an eviction vary widely across the country, from as little as $15 in Maryland to as much as $295 in Vermont.   

“This database provides a critical foundation for policymakers and researchers to truly understand the patchwork nature and complexity of eviction laws and processes across the country,” explained LSC Vice President for Grants Management Lynn A. Jennings. 

The database consists of a state/territory dataset covering eviction laws in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and U.S. territories. It also includes a second, local dataset covering eviction laws — including those at the county and local level — in 30 jurisdictions. These areas were chosen to represent the demographic, socioeconomic and legal differences across the country.This new tool is part of LSC’s ongoing The Effect of State & Local Laws on Evictions Study. Congress directed LSC to conduct the study to address concerns about the high rate of evictions in the country and the patchwork nature of local laws and regulations governing the eviction process prior to the emergence of COVID-19. Previous research briefs looked at the impact of different eviction protections offered to renters and examined the entire legal eviction process through the prism of a single jurisdiction in Tennessee.

The Eviction Laws Database complements LSC's Eviction Tracker, another online tool released earlier this month that provides near-real time data on eviction filings pulled from courts across the country. 

The Center for Public Health Law Research at the Temple University Beasley School of Law supports the widespread adoption of scientific tools and methods for mapping and evaluating the impact of law on health. The Center develops and teaches public health law research and legal epidemiology methods and tools; researches laws and policies that improve health, increase access to care, and create or remove barriers to health; and communicates evidence to facilitate innovation. 

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

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