New data has just revealed that eviction cases in the US have increased by almost 80% since October 2022. Official agencies report that about 13% of the US population, which represents more than 40 million of people, is at risk of losing their homes this year amid exploding rental prices and a worrying trend among some of the country’s largest landlords of increasing the rate of monthly evictions to fuel their cash flow growth . While businesses and investors worry about their bottom lines, families are losing everything and homelessness is growing across the country. Housing advocates say this is the cliff we’ve been warned about and things will only go downhill from here.
Corporate landlords are forcing tenants out of homes at rates that far exceed the typical pre-pandemic rate, a new report from the Princeton University Eviction Lab shows. Looking at how eviction levels have changed in 32 US cities over the past six months, researchers found that landlords in these areas filed about 970,000 eviction cases each month, a whopping 79% increase compared to past year.
In Phoenix, for example, rental prices skyrocket more than 25% year-over-year, with a median rent of $2,261. In Maricopa County alone, evictions are at their highest levels since at least 2016, with more than 45,000 applications so far this year. “Lately, it seems to be all we’ve been doing,” said Huberman, Maricopa County’s presiding justice of the peace.
Even areas experiencing less dramatic rent increases are seeing a rise in evictions as Americans struggle to cope with inflation. In Minneapolis, where rent increases have been trending below the national average, evictions in December were 37% above their historical averages after skyrocketing in June, when the state lifted the moratorium on evictions.
In the last quarter, the Las Vegas Justice Court handled more than 45,000 eviction cases, a significant increase from previous years, when the average was closer to 30,000 cases. In Dallas County, home to the city of Dallas, landlords filed nearly 60,000 evictions in the last four months. This is not just an isolated problem in major urban centers, but also in rural and industrial communities, where housing costs have also risen at an alarming rate. The latest analysis of weekly US Census data indicates that, in the absence of robust and rapid intervention, approximately 44.5 million people in the United States could be at risk of eviction in the coming months. That represents about 13% of the 331 million people in the United States.
“My biggest fear is that the cliff we have all been anticipating is here. It’s going to be a very, very difficult time going forward,” said Tim Thomas, research director of the Urban Displacement Project at the University of California, Berkeley. “I don’t want to be a pessimistic person, but we are probably about to see the worst of what is to come.”
Although inflation has finally begun to subside, general economic uncertainty continues to rise, and rents across the country remain $800 more expensive than they were in 2019. Before the pandemic, the median rent in the US was $1,062. Today, it sits at $1,937. The United States cannot afford to wait for another major national emergency to finally start taking action. People are losing the roof over their heads and their sense of dignity and security now, so we must act now before this crisis spirals out of control.