Understanding Evictions: A Guide to Using Local Court Data from New America

The “Future of Land and Housing” group at the national thinktank New America has just released a new detailed guide for courts, community advocates, data scientists, legal service providers, and policymakers about how to find, clean, standardize, and use eviction data from their courts.

This guide is the result of an intensive, cross-jurisdiction, multi-stakeholder project to make sense of the disparate ways that local courts collect data, call similar data fields different things, and what a researcher or policymaker can do with the data if they are able to get it. The guide makes clear some of the most important points for analysis, and how to consistently measure this in different jurisdictions, like:

  1. What’s the eviction filing rate in my jurisdiction?
  2. What are the most common reasons that eviction cases are filed here?
  3. What’s the eviction judgment rate here?
  4. Which landlords file the most eviction lawsuits?
  5. What’s the average amount of rent that landlords file for?
  6. How many households have repeated eviction cases filed against them?
  7. How many landlords and how many tenants have legal representation in their eviction cases?
  8. How many landlords and tenants appear (or fail to appear) at their court hearing?
  9. How many eviction filings result in a forced displacement from the home?
  10. What’s the average time from an eviction lawsuit filed to an outcome?
  11. How many cases end up in specific court outcomes?
  12. How many cases end up in favor of the landlord because the tenant didn’t participate in the court process?
  13. How many court cases end up in an eviction order from the court?
  14. How much money do landlords typically get in an eviction case?

It’s not always easy to get eviction data from your local court, or to get all the fields necessary to answer these important policy questions above. But this guide will walk your team through how to plan for these data challenges, so that you can better understand what’s happening your local court & housing ecosystem when it comes to eviction lawsuits and forced displacement.

Download the “Understanding Evictions: A Guide to Using Local Court Data” guide by Sabiha Zainulbhai and Helen Bonnyman from New America here, or explore it as a webpage.

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