Court records show spike in evictions ahead of CDC moratorium

September 11, 2020

Lynn Foster, a retired legal professor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, created a database to track evictions across Arkansas since the start of the pandemic. 

“Our evictions went way, way down in April, from the number that they were usually at,” Foster said. “But since then, they’ve been creeping back up and we’re seeing more and more and more every month.”

Foster’s latest data shows eviction filings increased by 40% from July to August.

Lee Richardson, executive director of Legal Aid of Arkansas, said roughly 20% of the housing cases coming into the agency are now COVID-related, and attorneys saw a sharp increase in eviction filings in the late summer months.

Crittenden County saw a 225% increase in the number of evictions filed from June to July, Richardson said. Craighead County saw a 150% increase.

“Probably more importantly, in Craighead County, we had a 300% increase in writs of possession being filed, which is when a judge or a clerk issues an order to have the police basically put someone out of the home,” Richardson said. “So they went from nearly nothing to, it was a 300% increase.”

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