USA: HOUSING: How bad will the wave of evictions be? 

— Over 20 million US households face eviction (David Plotz)

Mitch McConnell and Trump seem to have capitulated on extending the $600 unemployment benefit, which implies that Republicans will also accept a renewal of the federal eviction moratorium. That moratorium, which expired July 24, protected the one-third of renters whose landlords have federally-backed loans from being evicted during the pandemic. 

That’s a huge relief for millions of households, but colossal numbers of renters whacked by the pandemic and job losses are still facing imminent eviction. The question is: Will there be an eviction wave and a surge in homelessness?     

Surveys suggest that more than 20 million US households aren’t able to keep up with their rent. A number of states have imposed temporary restrictions on evictions because of COVID.           

(Here’s a good state-by-state chart.) But some of those temporary holds have expired or will expire soon, and evictions have surged in places where moratoriums have ended. In Wisconsin, according the Washington Post, eviction filings spiked 42% in the first two weeks of June. 

But we may still skirt a mass-scale eviction catastrophe. A renewed federal moratorium and an extension of the $600 unemployment benefit should protect many families. Also, eviction only makes sense for landlords if they can briskly fill the empty apartment. The pandemic, unlike a traditional recession, doesn’t give landlords that opportunity for a reset. Landlords understand that no pool of new tenants exists to replace those who are evicted, not even at lower prices. There are no immigrants arriving to fill apartments. Americans aren’t moving for jobs, and if they are moving, they are moving back in with their parents or kids. 

Tenants may avoid eviction en masse, but that doesn’t mean they’ll avoid uncertainty and stress. Even un-evicted, they’re in a much more precarious position. They may be months in arrears, which means the sword of eviction will still be dangling over their head — especially because moratoriums will expire before the economy recovers. — DP

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • wic  On 08/07/2020 at 10:52 am

    A very unfortunate situation for renters and families. However, don’t forget the landlords who have mortgages, municipal taxes and maintenance expenses to pay, along with water and, electricity bills in some cases and the heating when the weather gets colder. From where is that money to come? Such social and economic disruption will take many years to overcome regardless of whether there is a Republican or Democratic President in the White House. Good luck to all.

  • wally n  On 08/07/2020 at 1:15 pm

    “which implies that Republicans will also accept a renewal of the federal eviction moratorium”??????????????? Now we going with implies….what comes next…going with facts above truth???

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s