A real struggle

DFW renters face one of the worst eviction rates in the U.S.

DFW renters face one of the worst eviction rates in the U.S.

Dallas skyline
Dallas-Fort Worth has notched an eviction rate of 5.6 percent for 2015-17.  Photo courtesy of DCVB

Dallas-Fort Worth has the dubious distinction of being one of the country’s worst major metro areas for renters being kicked out of their homes.

A new study from Apartment List, an online marketplace for renters, shows Dallas-Fort Worth has notched an eviction rate of 5.6 percent for 2015-17. DFW is tied with Indianapolis for fourth place on that list.

Memphis, Tennessee, is No. 1 among the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S., with an eviction rate of 6.1 percent, followed by Phoenix at 5.9 percent, and Atlanta at 5.7 percent. The Houston metro area is at No. 8, posting an eviction rate of 5 percent.

Apartment List based the study on an analysis of data reported by its users.

“Nearly one in five renters have difficulty paying rent, putting them in a tenuous position where the threat of eviction is never far out of mind,” Apartment List says. “Evictions disrupt families and communities, imposing further harm on what are often the most vulnerable members of our population.”

Apartment List says the biggest factors, but not the only factors, influencing eviction rates in DFW and elsewhere are poverty rates and recession-era foreclosure rates.

DFW’s 2016 poverty rate was 12.7 percent, according to Apartment List, while its foreclosure rate in 2007-08 — at the peak of the Great Recession — was 3.3 percent.

Houston has higher numbers than DFW in both of those categories: a poverty rate of 14.8 percent in 2016 and a foreclosure rate of 4 percent in 2007-08.

In the San Antonio area, the overall eviction rate for 2015-17 is 4.2 percent, according to Apartment List, while it’s 2.7 percent in the Austin area.

In all, Apartment List found nearly one-fifth of U.S. renters were unable to pay their rent in full during at least one of the previous three months. That adds up to 3.7 million American renters who’d recently experienced an eviction.

Other insights from the study:

  • Renters who lack a college education are more than twice as likely to face eviction as those with a four-year degree.
  • Black households face the highest rates of eviction, even when adjusting for education and income levels.
  • Regardless of marital status, households with children are twice as likely to face eviction as households without children.

Interestingly, major metro areas with some of the highest housing costs in the U.S. have the lowest eviction rates. San Jose, California, tops the list at 1.2 percent, followed by San Francisco (1.6 percent); San Diego and Los Angeles (1.9 percent each); and Portland, Oregon, and Boston (2 percent each).

“While this result may seem counterintuitive,” Apartment List notes, “it seems to be driven by the fact that the most expensive areas also tend to have the best job opportunities.”