Habitat International Coalition
Global network for the right to habitat and social justice
 
Evictions Soar in Hot Market; Renters Suffer
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Source: New York Times
09-02-2014

This article, written by the New York Times, discusses the rise of evictions across the United States.

For tens of thousands of renters, life has become increasingly unstable in recent years, even as the economy has slowly improved. Middle-class wages have stagnated and rents have risen sharply in many places, fueled by growing interest in urban living and a shortage of rental housing. The result is a surge in eviction cases that has abruptly disrupted lives, leaving families to search for not just new housing that fits their budgets but new schools, new bus routes and sometimes new jobs.

In Milwaukee County, for instance, the number of eviction cases filed against tenants leapt by 43 percent from 2010 to 2013, according to figures gathered by the Neighborhood Law Clinic at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Other parts of the country have seen similar, if less drastic spikes — and not only in high-cost cities like San Francisco.

Landlord-tenant laws and housing market conditions vary widely, and evictions are not surging everywhere. And a court filing does not necessarily result in eviction; some cases are resolved through payment plans or other agreements. But from 2010 to 2013, Maine experienced a 21 percent increase in eviction filings, Massachusetts 11 percent and Kentucky 8 percent. In the fiscal year that ended in June, New Jersey, which has some of the strongest tenant protections in the country, had one eviction filing for every six renter households. In Georgia, where court statistics do not differentiate between tenants evicted by a landlord and homeowners evicted after foreclosure, filings soared to almost 270,000 last year, a 9 percent jump since 2010.

Over the same period, according to the research firm CoreLogic, the number of foreclosures dropped by half.

Perhaps the simplest explanation for the rise in evictions is a severe shortage of rental housing caused by a lack of new construction during the recession and the wave of foreclosures that turned homeowners into renters and occupied housing into abandoned blight.

A vast majority of renters live in cities, but evictions are not limited to urban settings. Rural areas like western Oklahoma, where an oil and gas boom has increased demand for housing, have also seen an increase in eviction filings.

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Tags
• Economic, Social and Cultural Rights   • Housing and Land Rights / Right to Adequate Housing   • Housing Policies   
 
   
 


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