U.S. evictions surge amid pandemic despite federal ban

October 5, 2020

When single mother Khalyah Jackson-Rivers lost her job in May, she fell behind on her rent despite a payment plan, eventually owing thousands of dollars to her building's management company in South Carolina.

"Then I got an eviction notice (in July) and a second eviction notice, and (it) said I had 30 days to move," the 25-year-old said by phone, worrying that she and her five-year-old daughter would have nowhere to go.

Despite a federal ban on evictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. families are still being threatened with removal from their homes - and the rate of such legal filings may be speeding up, housing experts warn.

After a previous ban ended in July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September issued a sweeping nationwide order temporarily halting millions of U.S. renters from being evicted, in a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Yet thousands of eviction filings went forward in the weeks leading up to and following the start of the moratorium, brought by some of the largest landlords in the country, according to tracking by the nonprofit Private Equity Stakeholder Project.

"We saw a substantial increase in cases in the last month, including since the CDC moratorium was announced," the group's executive director, Jim Baker, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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