Eviction Innovations

How can we address the eviction crisis in America?

Different jurisdictions have launched efforts to prevent evictions from happening, or to respond to the negative consequences that follow them.

This site profiles current initiatives to address the eviction crisis across the United States.

This database of programs can help government and nonprofits develop more effective responses to be implemented and scaled.

This site is a project of Stanford University’s Legal Design Lab.

Court-based innovations

What can courts, judges, and clerks be doing to mitigate evictions? How can they divert cases away from eviction orders?

Policy and Law innovations

What legislation or rules can prevent evictions, limit their harm, and promote housing stability?

Legal Service innovations

How can legal aid, pro bono, legal navigators, and legal technologies help people protect themselves during an eviction?

 

Discover

Explore eviction innovations being launched across the country.

Impact

Learn how to measure impact and what evidence there already is about what works.

Connect

Share the programs that you know about and find others to connect with.

 

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Come to Legal Help FAQ to find answers to your questions, and links to services that can help you.

Eviction Prevention projects

What are the services, policies, and technologies that can address the eviction crisis?

Explore the many programs across America that are trying to address the eviction crisis. We have collected short profiles of projects that jurisdictions may consider replicating, to prevent evictions, stop housing instability, and improve community resilience.

Court initiatives to prevent evictions

What can the court system be doing to prevent evictions and mitigate their long-term harms?

Explore this overview of promising practices, including:

  • Eviction Diversion Programs to stop the lawsuit and forcible removal, through mediation and financial assistance
  • Improving due process during the eviciton legal procedure,
  • Mediation and alternative dispute resolution programs encouraged or mandated by the court
  • Social and financial assistance present at court, including at the clerk’s office, courtroom, website, and other touch points
  • Delaying any case in which the tenant may be receiving rental assistance
  • Giving better notice to tenants, including with more user-friendly summons & text message notices

Policies & laws to prevent evictions

Laws, rules, and other policies may help stop evictions from being filed, protect tenants’ rights, and promote housing stability and equity. Explore upstream, emergency, and other kinds of policy options, like:

  • Tenant Protection packages that assemble several discrete legal rules together in order to ensure renters can have stable, safe housing;
  • Just Cause eviction standards and Eviction moratoria, that limit when landlords can file eviction lawsuits
  • Record masking or sealing, to stop evictions from being used against renters in future opportutnieis
  • Right to Counsel efforts to get free lawyers to peopel facing eviction or other housing emergencies
  • Landlord incentive programs to involve more in housing stability, mediation, and eviciton prevention efforts
  • Rental Registry to track properties and improve outreach

Legal Service initiatives to prevent evictions

Lawyers, legal navigators, and other legal professionals can help people facing eviction to resolve their problems & get to better long-term outcomes.

What are promising practices to scale up legal services — both among lawyers who can represent tenants, as well as community navigators and technology tools that can help scale up legal capability?

  • Right to counsel initiatives to guarantee tenants legal representation when they face eviction
  • Housing and Community navigator programs that offer better outreach, guidance, emotional support, and coordination to tenants
  • Self-Help technology that let tenants or legal professionals efficiently fill in forms, file with the court, or prepare for their case
  • Pro Bono Clinics, Hotline, and Lawyer-for-a-Day programs, that get tenants brief advice and short-term legal representation for free
  • Legal Referral Tools to make it easier for tenants to find and match with legal profesionals who can help them

Eviction Diversion Programs spotlight

Eviction Diversion Programs have emerged as one of the most promising new practices to stop eviction lawsuits, and mitigate harms.

Eviction Diversion Programs offer holistic sets of services to tenants at risk of eviction (after a lawsuit, after a notice, or otherwise). They provide rent help, mediation services, and then sometimes also legal representation and housing counseling. Their goal is to divert the situation away from an eviction trial and forcible set-out. Instead, they often result in rental assistance, a new payment plan, and a tenant-landlord agreement to continue their relationship.

Most Eviction Diversion Programs are hosted at courts, but they are created and staffed by a local coalition of service-providers and policy-makers.

Explore how you might set up an Eviction Diversion Program in your local courts and community.


Anti-Eviction Technology and Data initiatives

Many new websites, apps, document-assembly tools, data initiatives, and other tech efforts have begun, in order to improve services and policy-making around evictions.

  • Eviction Legal Helpline in Virginia
    The Eviction Legal Helpline provides Virginian tenants with advice, information, and referrals. It works via phone and emails.
  • RePresent tenant education games in Connecticut & Maine
    RePresent: Renter is a mobile phone game that users can download and play in order to learn how to defend themselves against an eviction. It is currently available in Connecticut and Maine.
  • Website connecting tenants with free attorneys in NYC
    The Eviction Free NYC website helps connect people with free legal help. Any tenant in NYC who is facing eviction can go to the website to determine if they are eligible for Right to Counsel and learn how they can access a free attorney.
  • COVID-19 Eviction Forms
    How can a person get protected under the national eviction moratorium during COVID-19? They need to fill in a Declaration document, as well as making sure they fit the requirements the CDC has laid out. This online tool, COVID-19 Eviction Forms, leads people through this Declaration drafting.
  • Eviction Legal Help FAQ site for COVID-19 renters’ rights
    The national eviction help and renters’ rights FAQ site coordinates plain-language explanations of emergency COVID-19 protections for renters. It also presents them with local legal and financial assistance they can use. Can I be evicted? What if I can’t pay my rent because of COVID? Who can help me cover my housing costs? This FAQ site is designed to get these local answers featured more prominently on search engines and elsewhere online.
  • Letter Writer with Local Law for Tenants during COVID-19
    A national letter-writing tool for tenants, that integrates local law — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tenants can use the tool to write a letter that protects their rights and documents their issues — and also send the letter to the landlord.
  • Letter-writer for COVID-19 emergency in LA
    A letter-writing tool to generate an official notice that a tenant can’t pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the landlord is given proper notice.
  • Eviction Cost Calculator
    The I4J Lab at University of Arizona has created a Cost of Eviction Calculator. This tool can help policy-makers, service-providers, and others to determine what the financial cost of an eviction is to their community.
  • Eviction Data Portal in Chicago
    The Chicago Evictions data portal is a resource to help policy makers, community groups and others investigate Chicago’s chronic eviction problem.
  • Eviction Prevention Letter-Writer, Hello Landlord
    Hello Landlord is a program developed by LawX and SixFifty to resolve rental issues before eviction takes place. The program helps tenants write a letter to their landlord if they have missed rent or need a repairs to their apartment.
  • Online Legal Self-Help in Boston
    MADE is an online tool to let tenants produce eviction pleadings if they are facing a lawsuit. It helps replace a 4 hour clinic that a legal aid group runs to help tenants respond to evictions.

Tell us about an eviction program

We are looking for detailed descriptions of programs that address the eviction crisis. Do you run such a program, or know of one? Please let us know!

Emergency and COVID-19 anti-eviction initiatives

The COVID-19 public health crisis threatens to create an eviction filing tsunami, as people are unable to afford their rent because of pandemic-related hardships. In response, there have been many new initiatives to prevent evictions during the crisis, and to limit the social harms that can result from housing instability.

  • COVID-19 Eviction Forms
    How can a person get protected under the national eviction moratorium during COVID-19? They need to fill in a Declaration document, as well as making sure they fit the requirements the CDC has laid out. This online tool, COVID-19 Eviction Forms, leads people through this Declaration drafting.
  • CDC National Eviction Moratorium
    The CDC Eviction Moratorium is a new national emergency policy, that orders that renters should be protected from eviction if they are unable to pay their rent due to hardships like job loss, income loss, or medical expenses. This protection lasts from September 4, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
  • The CARES Act & Public Housing Authority renter policies during COVID
    Since the passage of the CARES Act on March 27th, 2020, Public Housing Authorities have been working to implement guidance from HUD in order to prevent evictions from subsidized housing for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19.
  • Eviction Legal Help FAQ site for COVID-19 renters’ rights
    The national eviction help and renters’ rights FAQ site coordinates plain-language explanations of emergency COVID-19 protections for renters. It also presents them with local legal and financial assistance they can use. Can I be evicted? What if I can’t pay my rent because of COVID? Who can help me cover my housing costs? This FAQ site is designed to get these local answers featured more prominently on search engines and elsewhere online.
  • Eviction Moratorium policies to protect tenants during COVID-19
    During the COVID-19 emergency, many governments have created new Eviction Moratorium policies that give special protections to tenants who might not be able to pay their rent, or who are at risk of displacement during the emergency.
  • Letter Writer with Local Law for Tenants during COVID-19
    A national letter-writing tool for tenants, that integrates local law — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tenants can use the tool to write a letter that protects their rights and documents their issues — and also send the letter to the landlord.
  • Letter-writer for COVID-19 emergency in LA
    A letter-writing tool to generate an official notice that a tenant can’t pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the landlord is given proper notice.
  • Eviction Prevention Letter-Writer, Hello Landlord
    Hello Landlord is a program developed by LawX and SixFifty to resolve rental issues before eviction takes place. The program helps tenants write a letter to their landlord if they have missed rent or need a repairs to their apartment.

Legal services, navigator, and empowerment programs

A primary area of eviction prevention is in getting more people legal support, education, and representation. These projects focus on educating tenants and landlords about their legal rights, pairing them with non-lawyer navigators, connecting them with free or affordable lawyers to represent them, and otherwise get legal help.

  • Housing Education and Assistance in Tennessee
    The program provides housing assistance and education to low-income community members. Services include: mediation, education and legal advice.
  • Housing Justice Project in Nebraska
    The program provides assistance to low-income individuals with housing problems. Assistance includes, information, referrals, advice, self-help services and limited assistance and representation to qualifying low-income individuals with legal problems that fit within their housing priority.
  • NYC Housing Court Navigators
    The New York City Housing Courts has a navigator program to support and assist unrepresented litigants – people who do not have an attorney – during their court appearances in landlord-tenant and consumer debt cases.
  • Right to Counsel in NYC
    NYC’s Right to Counsel program provides free full-representation lawyers to tenants who live in eligible zip codes, and who are income-eligible. It is run by the city government’s Office of Civil Justice, in partnership with the NYC Housing Courts, local legal aid groups, and the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition.
  • Tenant Education game in Boston: Fight Displacement!
    Fight Displacement is a board and trivia game that educates tenants on their rights and the different ways they can respond to the Boston housing crisis. It is intended as a training resource for community organizations working to fight housing displacement and influence local development.
  • Tenant-Landlord Assistance Project in southern California courts
    The TLAP program in California provides legal services to qualified tenants and landlords involving unlawful detainer actions.
  • Charleston Housing Court Pilot Project in South Carolina
    The Charleston County Housing Court provides legal help to low-income families facing eviction. The objective of the court is to help tenants avoid eviction through mediation with the landlord, providing help to pay rent or assessing whether the eviction was legally served.
  • Right to Counsel Housing Jobs Board in NYC
    This job board program is for prospective tenant attorneys, to provide them with an overview of right to counsel housing jobs in NYC.
  • Housing Court Lawyer for the Day programs in Massachusetts
    Volunteer attorneys provide Limited Assistance Representation to low-income, underrepresented tenants and landlords in housing courts in Massachusetts.
  • Tenant Education in Tucson RENT Project
    The RENT Project offers tenant education workshops in Pima County, Arizona. Volunteer attorneys and students from the University of Arizona run educational workshops on renter rights & responsibilities in partnership with local organizations throughout Pima County.
  • Eviction Summons Redesign in Cincinnati, OH
    A team of court officials, self-help lawyers, and university researchers redesigned the court’s official Summons that tenants receive when they are evicted, to make it more accessible and actionable.