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Eviction policy

Eviction Policy – General

Issue Overview

Evictions are a troubling experience for all parties involved. However, they are a necessary part of managing an apartment community. Rental housing providers engage in the eviction process as their only legal remedy to remove a resident who has breached the lease and lawfully regain possession of their property. While most eviction complaints are premised on non-payment of rent, other causes include lease violations and criminal activity. Where possible, property owners seek to mitigate evictions by working with affected residents on payment plans and connecting them with social services. 

Lawmakers at all levels of government have tried to address the ongoing financial challenges of cost-burdened renters through legislation, but in many cases the proposed policies end up harming the very populations they are trying to serve. These proposals often come in the form of increased restrictions on the eviction process and rental history screening practices that have severe unintended consequences for renters and owner-operators alike. Examples of adverse eviction policies include increasingly burdensome eviction notice requirements, increasing the cost to file an eviction, expanded right of redemption for residents in default, restrictions on the ability of owners to screen an applicant's criminal and rental histories, abolishing the right of owners to non-renew a resident's lease through just cause eviction provisions, and funding government sponsored right to counsel programs. 

As an Owner or Operator, How Does This Affect My Business?

Adverse policies interfere with rental housing providers' use of the only legal remedy available to remove renters who violate the lease agreement, preventing them from effectively managing the risks associated with defaulting renters. While policymakers implement these changes with the intention of making the eviction process more fair to renters, they ultimately fail to resolve the core issues that leave cost-burdened renters at risk for eviction while increasing administrative and legal costs. These costs are eventually passed through to residents, which results in higher housing costs overall. Moreover, the burdensome bueaucratic requirements these policies create discourage housing providers from accepting applicants for housing who may have adverse credit, criminal or eviction history, while also preventing them from swiftly addressing resident's minor financial hardships by making reasonable payment plans unfeasible. 

NAA supports the following strategies to mitigate the impact of evictions on renters as an alternative to adverse changes to eviction policy:

  • Prescribe an annual cap on right of redemption;
  • Establish optional, government-funded [nonbinding] mediation programs in lieu of mandated right to counsel;
  • Spread the cost of legal defense programs across all taxpayers instead of placing the financial burden squarely on rental property owners;
  • Invest in and promote emergency resources for those who are hardest hit by financial hardships;
  • Address financial challenges that leave cost-burdened renters at risk for eviction;
  • Promote financial literacy programs;
  • Increase funding and improve delivery of existing federal, state and local programs for low-income households;
  • Engage in voluntary public-private partnerships that improve housing choice and opportunity; and
  • Support policies that increase the supply of housing.