Study: Tenant Distance From Court Affects Eviction Risk

Renters with longer commutes to eviction courts, often located downtown, face higher eviction rates.

2 minute read

June 13, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Eviction notice posted on gate


New research reported on by Matt Levin for Marketplace highlights a major barrier for tenants fighting eviction: the commute to the courthouse. According to research from law professor Dave Hoffman, “For every extra hour it takes to get to court, the odds of a default eviction go up as much as 9%.”

Tenants who live far from downtown courthouses face the biggest hardship. “[Hoffman’s] research suggests that even controlling for factors like income and race, the farther you are from the courthouse, the less likely you are to make it there to fight your eviction.” Shanti Singh of Tenants Together calls this “almost a consequence of displacement,” noting that working class renters “have longer and longer commutes to work, but also possibly longer and longer commutes to their own eviction hearing.”

As federal housing assistance programs lapse and disruptions brought on by COVID-19 continue to leave many renter households vulnerable to eviction, some landlords are intensifying their efforts to file evictions against tenants who owe back rent. But the pandemic brought some innovations, too. “Many eviction courts used Zoom or other platforms during the pandemic, and some continue to do so. That may help with the transport issue. But tenant lawyers said many of their clients run into issues using the technology. ”

Click through to the source article to listen to the full radio segment.

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