Preserving Rental Housing Stability during Disasters

Awarded Scholars:
Elora Raymond, Georgia Institute of Technology
Lauren Sudeall, Georgia State University
Phil Garboden, University of Hawai’i
Project Date:
Mar 2021
Award Amount:

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing social, economic, and racial inequalities, especially those in housing. In response, significant governmental efforts have tried to support housing stability caused by the pandemic through numerous policies. The effects of eviction moratoria and other emergency measures are likely to be highly variable as these policies were issued by multiple levels and branches of government including local and state courts, state and local executives, and legislative bodies and were differentially implemented. City Planner Elora Raymond and her colleagues will examine how eviction moratoria and policies are affected by the strategic decisions of landlords and courts. Landlords initiate the eviction process, and little is known about how eviction moratoria influence the landlord’s decision to initiate a legal eviction or to pursue other options, such as forbearance or workouts. In addition, evictions must be approved by courts. The PIs propose to address these questions. First, how do county-level courts implement eviction moratoria? Next, to what extent does landlord response to moratoria affect informal, legal, and illegal evictions? And which policies and local adaptations are most effective at reducing evictions and inequality along racial divides? To evaluate the impact of eviction moratoria (including the Center for Disease Control’s federal order) and emergency rental assistance on housing stability, the investigators will examine how county-level variation in COVID-19 emergency housing measures affects the number of formal evictions and racial and ethnic disparities in evictions. They will compare outcomes in Florida (which has a short-term moratorium imposed by the governor and provides funds for emergency rental assistance at the local level) and Georgia (where the state supreme court issued an emergency order that did not impose a moratorium, but some county courts interpreted the order as a moratorium).


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