Evictions nearly back to pre-pandemic levels in some U.S. areas: Cleveland Fed study

FILE PHOTO: Makeshift sheets displaying messages of protest contesting the ability to pay for rent hang in the window of an apartment building in the Columbia Heights neighborhood in Washington, U.S., May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

(Reuters) - Landlords in some areas of the United States are filing to evict rent-delinquent tenants at roughly the same rate they were before the coronavirus pandemic as eviction bans across the country begin to expire, research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland showed on Friday.

The regional Fed bank looked at eviction data from 44 U.S. cities and counties, finding it fell sharply in the early days of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic as many jurisdictions enacted bans on eviction filings, hearings or both.

“As of July 7, roughly one-third of rental units in our study are no longer covered by temporary policies, and eviction filings have now returned to their prepandemic levels in those places no longer covered,” the researchers wrote. Filings remain lower in areas that have continued their bans.

Moreover, it could get worse in the weeks ahead as a number of the emergency relief programs enacted by Congress to assist tens of millions of unemployed Americans start to expire at the end of July.

"In addition to expiring eviction bans, renter households face expiring supplemental unemployment benefits offered through the CARES Act in spite of a still-elevated unemployment rate, a situation which further raises the risk of eviction for households impacted by the crisis," the researchers - Rebecca Cowin, Hal Martin, and Clare Stevens - wrote in their report here.

(This story has been refiled to fix URL of hyperlink in final paragraph).

Reporting By Dan Burns; editing by Diane Craft