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How State Renter Protection Policies Affect Eviction in Communities of Color

State Landlord–Tenant Policy and Eviction Rates in Majority-Minority Neighborhoods
Breanca Merritt and Morgan D. Farnworth
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This study assessed whether state landlord-tenant policy influences evictions in communities of color. Researchers developed an original secondary dataset for this analysis, combining 2016 state- and block group–level data from Princeton University’s Eviction Lab, the American Community Survey, and the Hatch typology of landlord-tenant policy regimes.

Researchers then analyzed descriptive differences across state policy regime types using one-way analyses of variance to determine whether neighborhood eviction outcomes differ across state landlord-tenant policy approaches. They also used linear mixed-effects models to test whether state landlord-tenant policy is associated with eviction outcomes, particularly in neighborhoods of color. The models also included interaction effects for policy regimes and the racial and ethnic composition of neighborhoods to account for how neighborhood demographics might condition the role of state policy.

Key findings
  • Neighborhoods in states with more tenant-friendly environments had lower average eviction and filing rates than those with more landlord-friendly policies.
  • Compared with majority-white neighborhoods, eviction and filing rates in communities of color and majority-Black neighborhoods remained significantly higher—even in states with stronger tenant protections.
Policy implications
  • Tenant-friendly policies appear to support the reduction of eviction disparities but not the elimination of them.
  • These findings suggest state housing policy environments matter for eviction-related outcomes broadly and for communities of color. We propose that eliminating racial disparities should include a focus on the implicitly racialized nature of housing and landlord-tenant policy.