Given the slow pace of rental aid disbursement, Goldman’s analysts expect that between 1 million and 2 million households will remain without support and at risk of eviction when the remaining state and local eviction bans expire at the end of September. The economists based their findings on rent delinquency data from real estate companies, the National Multifamily Housing Council and the U.S. Census Bureau.
“The strength of the housing and rental market suggests landlords will try to evict tenants who are delinquent on rent unless they obtain federal assistance,” the Goldman analysts said. “And evictions could be particularly pronounced in cities hardest hit by the [pandemic crisis], since apartment markets are actually tighter in those cities.”
Democratic lawmakers have called for congressional action in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to halt the ban late Thursday, but it’s unlikely they will be able to muster the votes to craft their own eviction moratorium. The Biden administration is turning its attention to putting pressure on state and local governments and courts to shield tenants.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday warned that eviction filings would double their pre-pandemic level in the coming weeks and months, as he urged lawyers to do what they could to help keep people housed.
“Volunteer with your local legal aid provider or join your law school’s clinical program,” he said in a video message to lawyers and law students. “People are needed to provide legal counseling or representation to tenants as they apply for rental assistance, mediate disputes with landlords or litigate eviction filings in court. … You can make a difference.”
Just over 10 percent of federal rental assistance funds had been disbursed by the end of July, according to the Treasury Department. The sluggish delivery of aid has prompted affordable housing groups to complain that the programs have been too focused on fraud and to accuse governors and mayors of bias.
Garland, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge urged governors, mayors and county executives to enact their own eviction bans in letters on Friday. The Cabinet secretaries also pressed the officials to work with courts to require landlords to apply for emergency rental assistance before evicting and to pause eviction proceedings while applications for aid were pending.
Just six states and the District of Columbia currently have their own eviction bans in place, and another 10 states have enacted some form of tenant protections as they distribute aid. In states without protections, courts are likely to be flooded with eviction filings in the coming weeks.