Evictions at Lowest Level Since ‘09

According to a new analysis by TransUnion SmartMove, the number of apartment evictions in 2014 was the lowest in any year since 2009.

That evidence suggests that today’s apartment residents are maintaining a better rein on their money, and that apartment community owner-operators are employing risk management tools to ensure their leasing decisions are buttressed by better information than in the past. The average cost of evictions rose slightly over the past two years, from $1,685 in 2013 to $1,698 at the close of 2014. But since the end of 2010, when they reached their peak, eviction costs have been marked by a steady decline.

Eviction-related expenses can include maintenance fees, lost rent, court costs and judgment costs. The impact of the Great Recession is evident in the number of yearly evictions recorded over the past seven years. After being held to 2.6 million in 2008, evictions surged to 3.4 million in 2009, 3.8 million in 2010 and 3.9 million in 2011, before beginning a consistent decline from 2012 through 2014.

“While the number of evictions peaked in 2011, our data show a continued drop in evictions records every year since,” said Jason Norton, vice president of TransUnion’s rental screening solutions group. “Our data indicate tenants are in a position to better manage their finances and also suggest landlords are using risk management tools—such as evictions and criminal reports or credit histories—to make informed leasing decisions.”

For the most part, major metropolitan areas across the U.S. experienced declines in number of evictions. Chicago benefited from a large decline of 12.3 percent in evictions. Evictions in Dallas decreased 7.3 percent, while the decline in New York City was a more modest 3.3 percent. As for average eviction cost increases in 2014, Chicago recorded the smallest year-over-year filing amount increase among major U.S. metropolitan areas, at 1.6 percent. Meanwhile, Dallas (4.4 percent) and New York City (3 percent) tallied larger increases.

“The continued decline in evictions records in the largest U.S. metro areas is a promising indication for the rental environment, particularly for independent landlords who may have one or two properties,” Norton said. “Smaller, independent landlords often feel the impact of the costs of evicting tenants more than property management companies, which have large portfolios to absorb the shock.”