Eviction Court Displacement Rates

Nicole Summers | August 28, 2022

This Essay introduces the concept of eviction court displacement rates, defined as the percentage of eviction filings that result in tenant displacement. The Essay argues that a jurisdiction’s eviction court displacement rate provides crucial insight into the role of its legal system in driving substantive eviction outcomes. The Essay then compiles existing data on court displacement rates and compares those rates across jurisdictions. This comparison reveals massive variation in court displacement rates nationwide. In some jurisdictions, a tenant’s likelihood of displacement upon receiving an eviction filing is approximately one in twenty. In other jurisdictions, it is higher than one in two. The Essay outlines the challenges involved in distilling the factors underlying this variation. Notwithstanding these challenges, it identifies and assesses potential explanations for the disparities. The Essay calls for empirical analysis to understand precisely which parts of the eviction legal system—the substantive laws, procedures, and access-to-justice factors—shape eviction court outcomes.