Could 20 Million Renters Be at Risk of Eviction?

Published by REALTOR Magazine on July 14, 2020

As some federal unemployment benefits set in place as a result of the pandemic are about to expire at the end of this month, millions of Americans could be faced with uncertainty—particularly renters.

Since mid-March, 44 million Americans have filed for unemployment, HousingWire reports. About 110 million people live in rented households in the U.S., and the Aspen Institute warns that mass evictions could be on the horizon. They warn that one in every five renters could potentially face eviction. And if unemployment remains high, up to 23 million renters could be evicted by Sept. 30.

“We can expect [evictions] to increase dramatically in the coming weeks and months, especially as the limited support and intervention measures that are in place start to expire,” Emily Benfer, the chair of the American Bar Association’s Task Force Committee on Eviction, told CNBC. “About 10 million people, over a period of years, were displaced from their housing following the foreclosure crisis in 2008. We’re looking at 20 million to 28 million people in this moment, between now and September, facing eviction.”

Many of these evictions began prior to March when courts closed down and eviction prohibitions started, which has resulted in a backlog, says Megan Booth, director of federal housing, valuation, and commercial real estate policy and programs for the National Association of REALTORS®. So, not all evictions are directly related to layoffs due to the pandemic.

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