Austin evictions climb as rents soar

Since Covid-era eviction moratoriums were lifted, skyrocketing housing costs are driving up Travis county evictions

Renters, Eviction, Austin
Evictions climb as rents soar (iStock / Photo illustration by Priyanka Modi for The Real Deal)

Evictions are steadily rising as local governments lift pandemic protections.

After evictions in Travis County dropped to historic lows due to Covid-era moratoriums , the greater Austin area is seeing a renewed spike in filings in what some are calling a housing crisis, according to the Community Impact Newspaper.

Between March and April 2020, eviction filings in Travis County plunged 96 percent as local orders aimed at delaying evictions went into effect, based on data from Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.

Prior to the pandemic, the county of nearly 1.3 million people historically saw well over 100 eviction cases filed each week. These figures dropped to around several dozen, but began climbing again after the CDC’s national eviction ban expired in late 2021, according to Eviction Lab data.

At least 2,300 eviction filings were logged in total from April 2020 through December 2021, an average of just over 110 per month. However, 2,517 filings have been tracked within the first three months of 2022—more than 50 percent of Travis County’s pandemic-era total.

The number of filings grew from 464 in January to 1,060 in March.

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Austin Apartment Association's Emily Blair (Austin Apartment Association, iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
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Some local officials and advocates are working to ensure the scaling down of protections do not result in longer-lasting fallout for renters.

“It sounds like evictions are going to skyrocket and continue to increase, and that’s only going to compromise our local economy and our community even further,” said Pilar Sanchez, Travis County health and human services executive.

“We are almost at where we were before the pandemic, but instead we are reeling from skyrocketing rent prices and people who are barely able to get recovered [from the pandemic],” said Mincho Jacob, communications coordinator for the tenant support organization Building and Strengthening Tenant Action, or BASTA.

The average monthly rent in Austin has jumped more than 40 percent in the past year alone, according to Redfin data.

“What we’re seeing is an affordability crisis that’s only been compounded by the pandemic,” Sanchez said. “Rental prices here in Austin have increased tremendously, and people can just not afford to pay their rent.”

[CIN] — Maddy Sperling

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