How Courts Can Better Manage Eviction Cases

Research, analysis, and technical assistance on strategies to improve the handling, outcomes of housing litigation

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Each year, 44 million eviction cases are filed against American families in court. These cases can have severe consequences, including homelessness and housing insecurity, harms to individual and community health, and compounded costs that can increase renters’ financial distress.

Only about 10% of renters facing eviction have legal representation—compared with 90% of landlords—leaving them with little or no assistance to navigate the civil courts and causing delays and procedural errors that can impede the fair review and resolution of a case, often at great cost to courts, litigants, and taxpayers. In recognition of these issues, as pandemic-era federal and state eviction moratoriums expired during 2022, some court systems sought to ease the strain these proceedings place on courts and litigants. These efforts have included improving technology and data collection, ensuring due process for litigants, offering mediation services, engaging municipalities to help resolve rental disputes and prevent evictions, connecting unrepresented tenants with legal assistance, and sealing records to protect renters’ ability to secure future housing.

The Pew Charitable Trusts conducts objective, nonpartisan research, analysis, and technical assistance, informed by the perspectives of diverse stakeholders, to help state and local leaders better understand court policies and processes, identify problems, and develop evidence-based solutions. The resources collected here examine how civil courts handle eviction cases and offer insights into strategies to improve experiences and outcomes for all parties and make courts more open, effective, and equitable.

For more information on Pew’s research, no-cost analysis, and technical assistance, contact Lester Bird.

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