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Locked Out: How Algorithmic Tenant Screening Exacerbates the Eviction Crisis in the United States

Cite as: 6 Geo. L. Tech. Rev. 276 (2022)

The United States Census Bureau estimates that over nine million American households are currently behind on their rent.1 That is just one signal that when the United States overcomes the COVID-19 crisis, it will have to deal with the eviction crisis that has been simmering for over a decade and has now boiled over due to hardships caused by the pandemic. These stark numbers have spurred new attention to the state of evictions in the United States and led to short term stop-gap measures, such as a raft of time limited eviction moratoria by state governments across the country.2 In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a national moratorium on evictions in September 2020. 3 Unfortunately, the Supreme Court vacated the moratorium without hearing on August 26, 2021, meaning that millions of Americans can now be entered into the records of eviction courts around the country.4 In the age of big data, this record could stick with them for a long time, making it significantly harder to find a new place to live years after they paid their back rent and otherwise achieved stability.

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Matthew Harold Leiwant

J.D. Candidate, Georgetown University Law Center 2022; B.A., Bowdoin College 2014