UNITED STATES—Eviction and foreclosure-related moves have increased by 411% in California during the pandemic, according to a new study from HireAHelper, an online moving marketplace. California saw the highest rate of these kinds of moves, followed by Florida (+187%), Massachusetts (105%+), New Hampshire (+79%), and Ohio (+52%). Nationally, eviction and foreclosure rates rose to 56% from 2021-2022.
“According to our research, the combination of rising inflation and the absence of federal rent assistance has added to an already fragile state of housing, forcing many people to live beyond their means,” said Miranda Marquit, Chief Data Analyst at HireAHelper, in a press release. “It’s the first time in the last five years that evictions and foreclosures in the United States have rebounded.”
While the report mentions the end of pandemic-era protections coming to an end across the United States as a potential cause for this increase in eviction/foreclosure moves, California demonstrates its own unique set of pandemic-era eviction protections.
For instance, the statewide eviction moratorium, which prevented landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19-related financial hardships, did end in September 2021. And, the state has also lifted restrictions on eviction filings, allowing landlords to begin the eviction process for tenants behind on their rent payments.
However, some protections for tenants are still in place. The California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, which provides rental assistance to eligible households, is still accepting applications. Additionally, local eviction moratoriums are still in place in some cities and counties, providing additional protections for renters.
The report also noted that the rise in evictions and foreclosures has disproportionately affected certain demographic groups, and suggests that the rise in evictions and foreclosures has deepened existing inequalities and hit marginalized communities hardest.
Specifically, Black and Latino individuals were more likely to be evicted or foreclosed on than white individuals, with Black individuals experiencing the highest rates of eviction and foreclosure. Women were also more likely than men to be affected by eviction and foreclosure-related moves.
Despite the difficulty of the times, there may be hope. If you are facing eviction or foreclosure in California, there are several steps you can take to take action on your housing situation.
Know your rights: It is important to understand your rights as a tenant or homeowner, including the eviction and foreclosure process, and what protections are available to you. You can consult with legal aid organizations, such as Legal Services of Northern California, or contact a housing counselor to get more information.
Communicate with your landlord or lender: If you are having trouble making rent or mortgage payments, it is important to communicate with your landlord or lender as soon as possible. You may be able to negotiate a payment plan or other arrangements that can help you stay in your home.
Seek financial assistance: There are several financial assistance programs available to help tenants and homeowners who are struggling to make ends meet. For instance, the California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program provides rental assistance to eligible households, while the Keep Your Home California program offers mortgage assistance to qualified homeowners.
Seek legal advice: If you are facing eviction or foreclosure, it may be helpful to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney. Legal aid organizations can provide free or low-cost legal assistance to eligible individuals.
Get involved: You can also get involved in advocacy efforts to support renters and homeowners who are facing eviction and foreclosure. You can join or support organizations that are advocating for housing justice, and get involved in campaigns and initiatives that aim to protect renters and homeowners in California.
While the housing situation continues to evolve in California, lawmakers could introduce new legislation to extend or modify eviction protections in the future. Therefore, it is essential to stay informed about the latest developments and seek legal advice if you are facing eviction or foreclosure.