U.S. Representative Greg Stanton (D-Phoenix) introduced a bill that could eliminate evictions that occur during the pandemic, from tenant rental records.
“That has devastating impacts for years and years, potentially for the rest of your life. And that's just simply not fair,” Rep. Stanton told ABC15.
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HR 1594, or the COVID–19 Eviction Consumer Report Fairness Act, would prevent an “eviction, or any information related to an eviction or a proceeding seeking eviction” from being reported by consumer agencies that gather and sell the information to landlords during the screening process.
“This bill would protect people, not just who are unfairly and sometimes illegally evicted,” Stanton said.
Data shows it’s a protection that thousands of Arizonans could benefit from.
While evictions significantly declined after state and federal eviction moratoriums were enacted, eviction cases continue to be filed in justice courts around Arizona. The federal rule delayed the forced removal of tenants in the case of non-payment, and allows a judgment to be sought once the ban is lifted. If a landlord can show the eviction is not payment-related, it can fully proceed without any delay.
According to eviction analysis from the United Way, Phoenix leads the nation in eviction filings with 16,685 during the pandemic.
Princeton University’s Eviction Lab calculated that 30,998 evictions have been filed in Maricopa County Justice Courts since March 15, 2020.
An eviction filing alone does not mean the tenant has been removed, but it can show up in a rental history check. Stanton said his bill would retroactively address that.
Rep. Stanton's office said the bill would also prevent credit reporting agencies from including eviction judgments during the pandemic.
“It’s a logical protection element,” Stanton said. “And I do think that it has a good chance of getting through, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure this bill goes to the appropriate process and gets to the finish line.