Evictions and COVID-19

April 2, 2021 • Volume 31, Issue 12
Will government intervention prevent a housing crisis?
By Heather Kerrigan


The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in millions of lost jobs. In turn, many Americans struggled to keep up with rent. Faced with the threat of a massive wave of evictions, the federal government stepped in to halt certain evictions for nonpayment of rent. These protections kept millions of Americans housed and likely prevented further spread of COVID-19. Some states and localities imposed their own moratoriums. However, many evictions still took place as landlords, hit with their own financial challenges, utilized techniques allowable under the law to remove tenants. The temporary eviction protections also did little to help heavily indebted tenants owing back rent, which led economists and housing experts to warn about a possible eviction tsunami once the moratoriums end. The crisis is likely to have a lasting impact on renters and landlords alike and has raised broader questions about the lack of affordable housing in the United States and how policymakers should confront these challenges.

Photo of a Maricopa County, Arizona, official posting an eviction order in Phoenix in October 2020. (Getty Images/John Moore)
A Maricopa County official posts an eviction order for nonpayment of rent in Phoenix in October. A federal moratorium on such actions during the pandemic has not blocked all evictions from taking place. (Getty Images/John Moore)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Apr. 02, 2021  Evictions and COVID-19
Mar. 02, 2018  Affordable Housing Shortage
Nov. 06, 2015  Housing Discrimination
Feb. 20, 2015  Gentrification
Apr. 05, 2013  Homeless Students
Dec. 14, 2012  Future of Homeownership
Dec. 18, 2009  Housing the Homeless
Nov. 02, 2007  Mortgage Crisis Updated
Feb. 09, 2001  Affordable Housing
Jan. 06, 1989  Affordable Housing: Is There Enough?
Oct. 30, 1981  Creative Home Financing
Nov. 07, 1980  Housing the Poor
Dec. 21, 1979  Rental Housing Shortage
Nov. 24, 1978  Housing Restoration and Displacement
Apr. 22, 1977  Housing Outlook
Sep. 26, 1973  Housing Credit Crunch
Aug. 06, 1969  Communal Living
Jul. 09, 1969  Private Housing Squeeze
Mar. 04, 1966  Housing for the Poor
Apr. 10, 1963  Changing Housing Climate
Sep. 26, 1956  Prefabricated Housing
Sep. 02, 1949  Cooperative Housing
May 14, 1947  Liquidation of Rent Controls
Dec. 17, 1946  National Housing Emergency, 1946-1947
Mar. 05, 1946  New Types of Housing
Oct. 08, 1941  Rent Control
Aug. 02, 1938  The Future of Home Ownership
Sep. 05, 1934  Building Costs and Home Renovation
Nov. 20, 1933  Federal Home Loans and Housing
Nov. 17, 1931  Housing and Home Ownership
Budget and the Economy
Congress Actions
Consumer Behavior
Consumer Credit and Debt
Domestic Issues
Economic Crises
Fair Housing and Housing for Special Groups
General Social Trends
Global Issues
Infectious Diseases
Low Income and Public Housing
Mortgage Loans and Home Finance
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Protest Movements
Regional Planning and Urbanization
Regulation and Deregulation
Rental Housing
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Welfare and Welfare Reform
Work and the Family