HUD Issues Report on Feasibility of National Evictions Database
The 2021 Appropriations Act tasked HUD with studying the feasibility of creating a national evictions database. The database would collect information on three types of evictions: formal court-ordered evictions, extra-legal evictions (unlawful or self-evictions), and administrative evictions (PHA evictions of public housing residents). HUD’s Office of Public Policy Development and Research recently issued the feasibility report. It delves into what data sources are available for each eviction type and how researchers and other stakeholders have sought to collect and analyze data related to evictions.
According to the report, a national collection and analysis of data on eviction is an important part of HUD’s mission of creating strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. At present, there is no single, national source of data on the prevalence, geographic distribution, and characteristics of court-ordered, extra-legal, and administrative evictions. And HUD feels the lack of comparable data available nationwide hampers the ability of federal, state, and local governments, as well as nongovernmental agencies, to track the prevalence of evictions and to target resources effectively for eviction prevention and diversion activities. The collection and analysis of data on evictions by the federal government could help address the information gap and facilitate better allocation of resources.
Data on Evictions from HUD-Assisted Housing
The report finds that it is feasible for HUD to modify its main administrative data collection systems to collect better information on evictions from its largest rental assistance programs—Public Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, and Project-Based Rental Assistance. Most evictions from these programs must take place through the court system, although PHAs have a limited option to evict public housing families via administrative action (outside the court system) only if local law permits and if they follow certain procedures, identified in HUD regulations, to ensure that tenants receive due process.
PHAs and owners of HUD-assisted multifamily properties have access to information on eviction filings and evictions that they could report into HUD’s Public and Indian Housing Information Center (PIC) system and HUD’s Tenant Rental Assistance Certification System (TRACS).
This report proposes adding fields to PIC and TRACS as part of a broader data collection effort on the reasons for leaving HUD assistance and to permit HUD to track different types of evictions from its major rental assistance programs. Adding fields to PIC and TRACS would require Paperwork Reduction Act clearance, funding to pay for modifications to HUD’s data systems, training for PHAs and owners on the new requirements, and HUD staff time to monitor compliance and ensure accurate data. Funding would also be needed to modify HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification (EIV), which uses data from PIC and TRACS.
The report recommends that HUD pilot any major new data collection related to evictions or information on reasons for leaving HUD assisted housing with a sample of PHAs and owners to ensure that the data collection is feasible, will yield quality data, and wouldn’t have unforeseen adverse effects on program operations or landlord participation.