May 11, 2020
Which states are doing the most to protect tenants from evictions during the COVID-19 crisis? As millions across the country lose jobs, income, and face housing insecurity, researchers from the Eviction Lab and Columbia University assembled an important scorecard assessing each state’s emergency protections from evictions. While no state received a perfect score, California’s statewide policy was scored a scant 1.88 out of 5—just behind Kentucky, Kansas, and Rhode Island.
- Massachusetts, Delaware, and Connecticut have overall the strongest tenant protections in the country.
- California has some protections that higher scorers do not. For example, unlike Massachusetts (4/5 stars), California seals court eviction case records if the case is denied or dismissed, while legislation that would seal eviction records in Massachusetts is still pending. Unlike Minnesota, California has taken steps to prevent utility shut-offs.
- California lags behind Rhode Island and Kansas because it still allows most court filings, except for evicting tenants facing direct COVID-19 hardship, while suspending hearings and extending deadlines by 90 days. Rhode Island prohibits eviction filings for nonpayment, and Kansas goes further by prohibiting landlords from serving an initial notice to quit.
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