Eviction Innovation

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?

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

 

Emergency Rental Assistance How-To Toolkit

image overview of Emergency Rent Assistance toolkit
https://www.nlc.org/resource/emergency-rental-assistance-toolkit-how-to-resources-for-equitable-effective-programs/

The Emergency Rental Assistance Toolkit is a 12-part series of how-to guides for making more impactful, equitable, and accessible Emergency Rental Assistance Programs. The ERA Toolkit was made by the National League of Cities and Stanford Legal Design Lab, based on their technical assistance and research with cities across the US.

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.

 

Get Updates on Eviction Prevention

Join our Slack workspace to get updates on what is happening with eviction prevention, resources, events, case studies, news, and more.

Our Latest Posts & News

  • Sealing Eviction Records guide from Upturn
    More jurisdictions are considering how to seal eviction records to protect tenants from disastrous consequences in their future housing opportunities. This guide walks through how to set up policies around this.
  • New simple lease design
    Could you transform leases into a more proactive, problem-solving tool through better information design?
  • Service Mapping all eviction prevention resources in a region
    Are you working on building a better coalition of services for tenants at risk of eviction, or who have recently been evicted? You may try a 1-2 hour Service Mapping exercise to build a better regional coalition & establish…
  • Tenant Power Toolkit for Californians
    LA nonprofits have created a free legal technology tool for tenants to respond to their eviction lawsuits. The Tenant Power Toolkit helps a person easily fill in the answer form & get it into the court.
  • Tenant Assistance Project in Nebraska
    Some counties in Nebraska have started a comprehensive court-based program to connect tenants with attorneys, resources, eviction defense strategies, and procedural coaching. This can stop immediate evictions.
  • Eviction settlement terms that amount to civil probation
    Professor Nicole Summers has spotlighted the phenomenon that arises out of housing court settlements: “civil probation”. Many eviction cases end in settlements as opposed to court orders. Summers has been studying what is inside these settlements, and has found…

Do you need help with an eviction?

Are you a renter dealing with a problem with your landlord, housing conditions, or the court?
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

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.


Eviction Prevention 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.

  • Tenant Power Toolkit for Californians
    LA nonprofits have created a free legal technology tool for tenants to respond to their eviction lawsuits. The Tenant Power Toolkit helps a person easily fill in the answer form & get it into the court.
  • How can text messages help prevent evictions?
    By Sarah Verschoor, originally published on Legal Design & Innovation During many evictions, tenants & service providers face a troubling paradox. Just when a tenant is most at risk of eviction — and most in need of legal, financial, and housing services — this is when it is most difficult for service-providers to engage with…
  • Eviction Data Tracker in the Atlanta Region
    A coalition of the federal reserve, Georgia Tech, and a regional commission established a detailed eviction data tracker to understand what is happening with eviction court case filings.
  • Texting tenants immediately after lawsuit is filed
    Courts, legal aid groups, and diversion programs are using text messages to send reminders, referrals, and encouragement to tenants to participate in court and avoid eviction
  • Data tracking evictions in Milwaukee
    The Track Milwaukee Evictions website has gathered data about local eviction filings, court outcomes, neighborhood risk, and housing code violations. They present the data fields & visualizations to show how the eviction system works locally — and who is most at risk.

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.

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.

  • Tenant Assistance Project in Nebraska
    Some counties in Nebraska have started a comprehensive court-based program to connect tenants with attorneys, resources, eviction defense strategies, and procedural coaching. This can stop immediate evictions.
  • Eviction Help Flier
    Make sure a tenant who has been sued for eviction also knows their options to get help & be prepared for court.
  • Eviction Court Summons from Montana
    When a person is sued for eviction, how are they notified? A court summons is a crucial document to let them know about the lawsuit, help them connect with services, and get them prepared for important hearings and deadlines. This court summons was designed to be more user-friendly & accessible.
  • Eviction Notice design from Las Vegas
    How can courts and legal actors warn a tenant about a possible eviction –so that they take action, connect with services, and avoid a forcible move? This new warning notice from Las Vegas is one example of a strategic, simplified design.
  • Housing Court Service Design in Indiana
    Samira Nazem at National Center for State Court highlighted some innovations at local courts in Lawrence Township, Indiana in Marion County. They have worked to create more visual, supportive guides throughout the in-person court process for tenants and landlords looking for help. These DIY efforts are cost-effective but impactful, because they provide user-friendly signposts and…

See more anti-eviction legal services and programs.