As Rental Assistance Ends, Houston Sees Eviction Filings Rise

More Houston households face evictions as landlords seek to recover back rent accrued during the last two years of the pandemic.

Read Time: 2 minutes

January 20, 2022, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Downtown Houston pedestrians

Oleg Anisimov / Shutterstock

As the funding available for rent relief dries up, more Houston households face eviction and claims for back rent. "In the first week of 2022, the median rent owed was $2,455.70 — the greatest amount since at least 2017 — according to new eviction data from Princeton University's Eviction Lab." Kirkland An reports that as one of the regions that managed to distribute rental assistance faster than many others, Houston and Harris County are down to the last $4 million of their $283 million in rent relief funds, and officials are prioritizing tenants already in eviction proceedings—meaning there's little protection for households teetering on the edge of losing their home.

According to An, "landlords in Harris County are not required to accept rent relief, and can choose to evict their tenants instead." This is leading to crowded courtrooms as eviction courts work through the backlog of eviction filings, which usually peak after the winter holidays. 

According to RealPage, a real estate data analytics firm, rents in professionally managed apartment buildings went up by 10.3 percent in the third quarter of 2021. With the end of federal relief funds and eviction moratoriums and rents continuing to rise around the country even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt daily life and threaten livelihoods, experts expect a wave of evictions. Housing advocates warn that low-income renters will have an increasingly difficult time renting affordable housing near jobs and essential amenities.

Thursday, January 13, 2022 in The Houston Chronicle

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Aerial view of dense single-family homes in neighborhood still under construction

How Virginia Counties Use Zoning to Stifle Development

Some state legislators are proposing action at the state level as counties block development using zoning and development requirements even as housing prices rise sharply in the region.

January 23, 2023 - The Virginia Mercury

New York City Coronavirus

The Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity to Remake Downtown

Urban cores around the country were transforming into live, work, and play destinations before the pandemic. The pandemic was a setback for this transformation, but it could also be a rare opportunity. It’s up to city leadership to seize it.

January 23, 2023 - The Washington Post

Rendering of red seven-story student housing building with students walking in open grassy plaza in front of building

L.A. Times Editorial Board Calls for CEQA Reform

The Board argues that the environmental law, while important, has too often been ‘weaponized’ by NIMBY groups to delay or halt housing development.

January 31 - Los Angeles Times

Seattle buses in line at a depot with Seattle skyline in background

Seattle Brings Free Transit to Public Housing

Linking transit programs to housing can lower administrative costs and streamline the process for riders.

January 31 - Route Fifty

Broad street in downtown Columbus, Ohio with two pedestrians in crosswalk

Columbus Could Lower Downtown Speed Limits

The city council will vote on a proposal to lower speed limits to 25 miles per hour to improve safety and make downtown more walkable and welcoming to pedestrians.

January 31 - The Columbus Dispatch