Oct 30, 2023 - News

Where evictions went up in San Antonio after moratorium ended

Eviction rates in Bexar County, 2022
Data: Texas Housers; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Eviction filings in Bexar County skyrocketed past pre-pandemic levels last year, following the sharp decrease in filings during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, new data shows.

Driving the news: Texas Housers, a statewide nonprofit supporting affordable housing, last week released a new data dashboard on Bexar County eviction filings from 2018 to 2022.

  • It includes a map of 2022 eviction filings by census tract and properties with the highest rates of eviction filings.

Why it matters: The dashboard is the first of its kind for the county, showing data mapped at the neighborhood level alongside demographic data from the Census Bureau. It includes information that wasn't previously accessible to the public, Erin Hahn, a San Antonio-based research analyst with Texas Housers, tells Axios.

  • Knowing where most eviction filings occur can help local groups and elected officials better target aid for tenants and landlords.

The big picture: The map shows that census tracts with the highest rate of eviction filings are concentrated in low-income neighborhoods with high percentages of people of color, Hahn says.

  • There were individual census tracts throughout San Antonio that had an eviction filing rate of 7% or greater in 2022.

Of note: A federal moratorium on evictions ended in August 2021 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to end it.

Zoom out: Other sources track evictions in cities across the country, including Austin, Dallas and Houston. But San Antonio is often left out, Hahn says.

  • "Our tool was meant to complement those tools and fill in the gap of missing data," she says.

Zoom in: Some of the top-evicting properties last year were concentrated on the Northwest Side near Leon Valley, where multiple apartment complexes have made headlines for poor conditions and evictions.

  • One census tract in the area had an eviction rate of more than 31%.

By the numbers: In 2022, landlords filed 17,900 evictions in Bexar County — up from around 8,400 filings in 2020.

  • 2022 evictions were 108% of the pre-pandemic average, per the dashboard.

Flashback: The city launched an emergency rental assistance program in April 2020 and maintained it throughout much of the pandemic with the help of federal relief funding. The program is still running, but on a smaller scale.

  • Statewide, the Texas Rent Relief Program and the Texas Eviction Diversion Program launched in February 2021. Both closed this summer.

Context: In every San Antonio City Council district, about half the renter population spends more than 30% of their income on rent, per a 2022 Texas Housers report.

How it works: Many eviction cases are decided within three minutes, Greg Zlotnick, a visiting assistant law professor at St. Mary's University, tells Axios. Zlotnick oversees law students who provide free eviction defense to San Antonio residents through St. Mary's housing hotline.

  • Even if a tenant is not evicted at the end of a case, the filing can hurt their ability to obtain stable housing by remaining on their credit report or appearing in background checks, Zlotnick says.
  • Landlords won 76% of eviction cases last year, per the dashboard.

What they're saying: "The long-term effects of that three-minute hearing can be startling," Zlotnick says.

What's next: Texas Housers plans to update the dashboard annually. Hahn hopes to share 2023 filings in February.


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