Allegheny County Department of Human Services and The Pittsburgh Foundation wanted to learn more about evictions in the region: How many eviction cases are filed each year, and for how much money? How many cases are filed against low-income tenants? And how many cases do tenants win in comparison to landlords? This report describes the available data about landlord–tenant cases in Allegheny County from 2012 to 2019 and the quantitative insights we have been able to learn from it.
In addition to the report, a guide to the evictions process has been developed by the Pennsylvania Housing Alliance to help demystify the steps.
What were the takeaways?
- Thirteen thousand to 14,000 residential eviction cases are filed each year in Allegheny County.
- In 2019, the average amount claimed by landlords was $2,029. While the number of cases filed has been fairly stable from year to year, the amount of money claimed increased 35% during the period of the study, closely tracking the increase in median rent of defendants in eviction cases.
- A disproportionate number of cases are filed against low-income tenants living in publicly subsidized housing.
- Fewer than 1% of tenants have attorneys in landlord–tenant cases. The number of cases in which landlords are represented by legal counsel is also small but has been rising steadily, from 3% in 2012 to 7% in 2019.
- Landlords win about 85% of cases. Tenants win around 1.5% of cases, with the remaining cases withdrawn, settled or dismissed.
- Seventy-three percent of landlord–tenant cases filed are for overdue rent alone, as opposed to lease violations or the term of a lease ending.