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Evictions across Southern Tier largely back up to pre-pandemic levels

 Members of the Ithaca Tenants’ Union demonstrate against evictions outside the city court in December 2021.
Jillian Forstadt
Members of the Ithaca Tenants’ Union demonstrate against evictions outside the city court in December 2021.

It’s been over a year since New York’s eviction moratorium expired. Recent data from Cornell University researchers shows eviction rates haven’t just returned to pre-pandemic levels; they’ve largely exceeded them.

Russell Weaver, who led the study, said eviction rates rose the sharpest in areas that didn’t see a whole lot of evictions before the pandemic.

"That phenomenon is really concentrated upstate, in especially lower population, more rural counties," Weaver said.

Weaver said there might have been a backlog of evictions before the moratorium, and it’s just recently that landlords have been able to act.

In counties where evictions were already high pre-pandemic — like Broome and Chemung counties — evictions are back up again, but don't necessarily exceed pre-pandemic levels.

Weaver said statewide, larger, corporate landlords were responsible for a greater share of eviction cases than prior to the pandemic.

"Incorporated landlords are making a larger and larger share of eviction filings over time," Weaver said. "That's consistent with what you're seeing on the ground in Ithaca."

In Ithaca, over 80 percent of all eviction cases were brought by leasing companies rather than individuals or so-called “mom-and-pop” landlords.

Weaver said the elevated eviction rate doesn't just affect the person who has lost their home, it has had an impact on the community level too.

"All of a sudden community structures are starting to break down," Weaver said. "When, say someone who might have been maybe a member of a Parent Teacher Association, or a number of other organizations is gone, you see a lot less social cohesiveness in a neighborhood."

He said communities that saw a larger number of evictions also tended to see an increase in crime and a decrease in voter turnout.

Weaver also said New York's proposed "Good Cause Eviction" bill, if passed, could change the landscape for many of the communities hardest hit by evictions.

You can explore the data online here.