Bexar County Eviction Case Dashboard
Created by Erin Hahn and Mia Loseff
This dashboard is the first ever public facing analysis of all eviction filings in Bexar County. The dashboard tracks eviction filings in 2022, as well as eviction trends over time from 2018 through 2022. Unlike public facing eviction trackers for other Texas cities, it is not updated with real time Justice of the Peace court data. Instead, it utilizes Bexar County eviction data from previous years. It is a deep dive analysis into where evictions occurred and who evictions affected over time in Bexar County. As such, it will be updated with new data on a yearly basis.
Each of the 17,900 households who received an eviction filing in 2022 were faced with the threat of losing their home, many without backup options as to how to keep a roof over their family’s heads. An eviction is much more than a number on a dashboard – it’s a life-altering action that uproots families from the communities they’ve grown up in, attend school in, work in, and live in.
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How to use the dashboard
The top most elements on the dashboard provide a count of total eviction filings between 2018 and 2022, as well as some detailed information about eviction filings in 2022.
On the map, click on a census tract for more information about the tract, including its eviction filing rate and the racial/ethnic makeup of its renter population. In the top right corner, there is an icon that resembles several squares stacked on top of one another. Click the icon to turn on and off layers on the map, such as the Top 30 Evicting Properties layer. Select a Top Evicting Property from the list to the right of the map for more information about the property, including its location, owner, and eviction filing rate.
Each section of the dashboard comes with a contextual explanation to help you better understand the data. Scroll down to find the itemized explanations for each section of the dashboard below.
A growing eviction crisis in Bexar County
Rising rents and a growing shortage of affordable units have forced low-income households to devote more of their income to rent than ever before1Whitney Airgood-Obrycki & Peyton Whitney. (2023, April 11). Lower-Income Renters Have Less Residual Income than Ever Before | Joint Center for Housing Studies. https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/blog/lower-income-renters-have-less-residual-income-ever . 80% of extremely low income households in Bexar County are severely housing cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing and utilities2U.S. Census Bureau. (2021). 2017 – 2021 American Community Survey 5-year table B25070. [Note: People who are marked as having cost burden “not computed” in ACS are not included.] . For a low-income family living paycheck-to-paycheck, a minor emergency (like an unforeseen medical bill) can be the tipping point that leaves them unable to pay rent on time and, thus, at risk of being evicted.
Texas law provides only the weakest protections for renters who are facing an eviction. In Texas, a landlord can file to evict just three days after the monthly rent is due. Once a judge grants an eviction judgment, a tenant has five days to appeal the ruling and then only 24 hours to locate new housing and vacate the unit3Eviction. (n.d.). Texas Tenant Advisor. Retrieved October 20, 2023, from https://www.texastenant.org/moving-out-1/eviction.
As evictions rise in our local community and across the country, it is important to acknowledge the harmful, long term effects that evictions have on the health and wellbeing of individuals and families. Evictions are associated with negative health and behavioral outcomes, including mental illness, substance use, suicide, high blood pressure, and child maltreatment4Collinson, R., & Reed, D. (2018). The Effects of Evictions on Low-Income Households. NYU Law.
Evictions negatively impact employment, financial stability, future housing stability, and increase the risk of homelessness5Vásquez-Vera, H., Palència, L., Magna, I., Mena, C., Neira, J., & Borrell, C. (2017). The threat of home eviction and its effects on health through the equity lens: A systematic review. Social Science & Medicine, 175, 199–208. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.01.010. Evictions strain households’ finances, raising monthly housing costs by 20%, on average6Leung, L., Hepburn, P., & Desmond, M. (2021). Serial Eviction Filing: Civil Courts, Property Management, and the Threat of Displacement. Social Forces, 100(1), 316–344. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/soaa089. Finally, mothers and children who experience eviction are at elevated risk of material hardship, depression, and poor health outcomes7Desmond, M., & Kimbro, R. T. (2015). Eviction’s Fallout: Housing, Hardship, and Health. Social Forces, 94(1), 295–324. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/sov044.
The increasingly competitive rental market is leaving low income people more and more vulnerable to evictions and their lasting impacts on health and wellbeing. The harms caused by evictions in Bexar County will continue until state and local leaders invest significant resources into affordable housing and eviction prevention.
Evictions rocketed back after the pandemic
Eviction case filings in Bexar County were rising steadily in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic, hitting a peak in 2019. Temporary measures instituted during the pandemic, such as eviction moratoria and Emergency Rental Assistance funding, drastically reduced evictions in 2020 and much of 2021. However, when pandemic era-protections expired and rental assistance was depleted, eviction filing rates quickly rocketed back. In 2022, eviction filings surpassed the the level they were at before the pandemic.
Although pandemic-era federal and state level protections have expired, some eviction prevention measures instituted at the local level are still intact. In 2019, the City of San Antonio launched a Right to Counsel pilot program where 94% of all households who received counseling as a result of the program were able to avoid eviction8Houston, L. and Soto, V. (2021, March 10) Briefing on the Right to Counsel program for Culture and Neighborhood Services committee [PowerPoint slides]. Neighborhood Housing Services Department, City of San Antonio. This pilot continues today. Additionally, representatives from the city’s Neighborhood & Housing Services department are present at most eviction hearings with materials and resources to help households pre- and post-eviction. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid has an eviction hotline dedicated specifically to working with clients who are actively facing an eviction. These efforts are necessary and helpful, but they are not sufficiently scaled to stop the upward trajectory of eviction rates in Bexar County.
In Bexar County, 17,900 eviction cases were filed by landlords against tenants in 2022. This equates to 108% of the pre-pandemic average, or the average number of filings from the three years prior to the pandemic. On an average week day in 2022, 69 eviction cases were filed in Bexar County.
Evictions are filed against a household rather than individuals. This means that the count of 17,900 eviction filings underrepresents the actual number of residents that were impacted. Additionally, the eviction filing number does not account for the “informal” evictions of tenants who vacated their unit after their landlord threatened eviction and/or delivered a Notice to Vacate, but did not file a formal eviction case within the court system9Zainulbhai, S., & Daly, N. (2022). Informal Evictions: Measuring Displacement Outside the Courtroom. New America. https://d1y8sb8igg2f8e.cloudfront.net/documents/Informal_Evictions_Measuring_Displacement_Outside_the_Courtroom_SdqLTVK.pdf.
Although 17,900 eviction filings did not result in 17,900 evictions as some cases were ultimately dismissed or ruled in favor of the tenant, even an eviction filing harms a tenant by leaving a “black mark” on their record that makes it extremely difficult for them to secure a new rental unit in the future10Impact of Eviction on Credit and Future Housing | Texas Law Help. (2021, January 15). Texas Law Help. https://texaslawhelp.org/article/impact-of-eviction-on-credit-and-future-housing.
As you can see in the pie chart below, the vast majority of eviction cases (76%) were ruled in favor of the landlord in 2022. Eviction cases won by the landlord are those in which the judge grants a “judgment for plaintiff” (the judge found reasonable grounds for eviction during the hearing) or a “default judgment” (the tenant was absent from the hearing and the landlord won automatically). Both of these judgments result in the tenant being evicted.
Cases that are resolved in favor of the tenant are those granted a “take nothing judgment” (meaning that the judge did not find reasonable grounds for eviction). This judgment allows the tenant to remain in their home. Just two percent of eviction cases were resolved in favor of the tenant in 2022.
For cases that were dismissed, it is not possible to determine whether the tenant was evicted or if they remained in their home. Some cases are dismissed because the landlord and tenant underwent mediation and agreed on a payment plan. Others are dismissed because the landlord failed to appear at the hearing. In both of these scenarios, the tenant was allowed to remain in their home. However, sometimes a landlord dismisses a case because the tenant vacated their home prior to the eviction hearing, meaning an eviction occurred without an official ruling from a judge.
The large number of landlord wins in 2022 can be attributed to several factors. First, research shows that landlords are 26 times more likely than tenants to be represented by an attorney11No Eviction without Representation. (2022). ACLU. https://www.aclu.org/wp-content/uploads/legal-documents/no_eviction_without_representation_research_brief_0.pdf. Many corporate landlords have experience evicting tenants and are familiar with the eviction process. Texas law also gives outsized power to landlords in eviction cases given that a tenant failing to pay rent is enough reason to evict them, despite any long-term, severe, and/or life-threatening maintenance issues that may exist on the property. A landlord may have allowed their property to fall into disrepair and have active code violations, but if the tenant has not paid rent on time then the eviction is often granted. In Texas, tenants cannot legally withhold rent in response to unsafe living conditions and the conditions at a property cannot be used in a tenant’s legal defense against eviction12Repairs. (n.d.). Texas Tenant Advisor. Retrieved October 20, 2023, from https://www.texastenant.org/while-you-are-renting/repairs.
For most tenants, an eviction hearing is their first time in court. They often are unfamiliar with the process, unaware of their rights, and unclear on what is required of them throughout the process13Fleming-Klink, I., McCabe, B. J., & Rosen, E. (2023). Navigating an Overburdened Courtroom: How Inconsistent Rules, Shadow Procedures, and Social Capital Disadvantage Tenants in Eviction Court. City & Community, 15356841221141889.. Sometimes when a tenant finds a Notice to Vacate on their door, they “self evict” out of fear or confusion, move out of their home, and do not show up to their court date14Garnham, M. V. and J. P. (2020, July 22). Undocumented immigrants behind on their rent are self-evicting across Texas. The Texas Tribune. https://www.texastribune.org/2020/07/22/evictions-texas-undocumented-immigrants/. Some tenants do not have transportation to a hearing or the ability to take off work. Others face challenges that prevent them from being able to navigate a courthouse and attend a hearing, including tenants with a mental or physical disability and tenants who do not speak English15Fleming-Klink, I., McCabe, B. J., & Rosen, E. (2023). Navigating an Overburdened Courtroom: How Inconsistent Rules, Shadow Procedures, and Social Capital Disadvantage Tenants in Eviction Court. City & Community, 15356841221141889.. The prevalence of these scenarios help explain the large number of default judgments among eviction cases in Bexar County in 2022.
Evictions concentrated in certain areas of Bexar County and were absent from others
A conversation about the landscape of evictions in Bexar County would be incomplete without a discussion of where in the county evictions are being filed, and where they are not being filed. Before diving into maps, it is important to note that renter households are not equally distributed throughout Bexar county. To mitigate an uneven distribution of renter households across the county, the above map displays a census tract’s “eviction filing rate”, which is equivalent to the number of eviction filings within that census tract divided by the total number of rental households that reside in the census tract. Normalizing by number of renter households prevents concentrations of eviction filings from appearing on the map simply because there are more renter households living in that area than other parts of the county.
This resource analyzes socioeconomic indicators, including race, ethnicity, and income, in relation to evictions. Additional factors, such as the prevalence of multi-family housing and the age of a given development, also contribute to determining where evictions concentrate in Bexar County but were not included in this analysis.
In the following maps, we explore how factors such as race, ethnicity, and income play a role in determining where evictions occur in Bexar County.
The above maps illustrate a roughly inverse relationship between income and evictions. The maps show that evictions tend to concentrate in neighborhoods with lower incomes and are less prevalent in neighborhoods with higher incomes. Note a cluster of census tracts north of downtown that is boxed in red on the map, where evictions are largely absent. With median household incomes above 100 and 120% of AMI, these tracts house the wealthy and white neighborhoods of Olmos Park, Alamo Heights, and Terrell Hills.
The relationship between low eviction filing rates and high incomes is especially apparent at the northern edge of the county boundary. The entire northern band of census tracts north of Loop 1604 are in the highest or second highest income bracket, and many of those tracts have some of the lowest rates of eviction filing per number of renter households in the county.
Alternatively, notice the concentration of evictions in northwest San Antonio marked in yellow. The median household incomes of these census tracts fall within the 50 to 80% AMI bracket, which HUD defines as “low-income”16U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2021). Income Limits. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from https://www.huduser.gov/Portal/datasets/il.html#year2021. Eviction filings tend to cluster in lower income areas, while high income areas experience substantially lower rates of eviction filings.
Click on an image to enlarge.
There is significant research from across the nation that documents the disproportionate impact of evictions on low-income renters of color17Racial and Gender Disparities among Evicted Americans. (2020, December 16). Eviction Lab. https://evictionlab.org/demographics-of-eviction/. The eviction data that we received from Bexar County and present in this dashboard do not include demographic information. To explore the relationship between eviction and race/ethnicity, we collected neighborhood level race and ethnicity data from the American Community Survey (ACS). Mapping ACS race and ethnicity data alongside eviction data at the neighborhood level does not capture the racial/ethnic disparities within evictions to the same degree that case level eviction data with demographic information would, however it does illustrate a connection between eviction and race/ethnicity.
On the above map of white non-Hispanic renter households, there are two large clusters of light yellow census tracts indicating neighborhoods where the vast majority of renter households are non-white. East of downtown (boxed in orange) is home to Bexar County’s largest concentration of Black households. The map of evictions indicates that many of the tracts in this area have above average eviction filing rates. The area west of downtown (boxed in green) is predominantly Hispanic/Latino. Many of these census tracts have above average filing rates.
Notably, the Olmos Park, Alamo Heights, and Terrell Hill neighborhoods (boxed in red) have high rates of white non-Hispanic renter households. This area appears on the maps as an island of white renters, wealth, and an absence of evictions, surrounded by neighborhoods with more renters of color, less wealth, and abundantly more evictions.
One location that requires additional context to fully understand is the northwest side of Loop 410 (boxed in yellow), where there appears to be both a relatively high concentration of white non-Hispanic renters and a high rate of eviction. Although ACS data portray this area as white non-Hispanic, it is actually home to Bexar County’s largest concentration of Middle Eastern and North African families18U.S. Census Bureau. (2021). 2017 – 2021 American Community Survey 5-year table B04006.. Because of the U.S. Census’ method for collecting race and ethnicity data, it is often inaccurately portrayed as “white”19 Khalifa, Y. (2020, October 19). The census doesn’t count Arab Americans. That leaves some Texans feeling invisible. The Texas Tribune. https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/19/2020-census-texas-arab-mena/. After this nuance is taken into account, it is clear in the above maps that the areas with the lowest incomes and the highest concentrations of non-white renters are the same areas where the most evictions are filed in Bexar County.
Some properties filed evictions on more than a third of their residents in 2022
Click on an image to enlarge.
The first map above identifies the 30 rental properties that filed the most evictions against tenants in 2022. Each property is symbolized by a red circle, with the size of the circle proportional to the number of evictions filed by the property (larger circle = more eviction filings). The most straightforward takeaway from this map is that the properties that filed the largest number of evictions have an outsized impact on the filing rate of the census tract in which they are located. Many of the census tracts indicated on the second map as having a high eviction filing rate appear so primarily because of a single high evicting property located within its boundaries. Six out of the 30 top evicting properties filed an eviction against more than a third of their renter population.
Evictions are not evenly distributed across Bexar County. They are concentrated in certain neighborhoods and even certain properties. This becomes even more apparent when property ownership is taken into consideration. Five out of the 30 top evicting properties are owned by Trif, a local landlord notorious for maintaining substandard living conditions and evicting on a massive scale, despite receiving federal subsidy. One third of all of the top 30 evicting properties are owned by just two entities – Trif and GVA.
Research from elsewhere in the state and country shows that eviction filing rates are highest at rental properties owned by large-scale, corporate landlords, especially those that house high rates of low-income renters of color20Immergluck, D., Ernsthausen, J., Earl, S., & Powell, A. (2020). Evictions, large owners, and serial filings: Findings from Atlanta. Housing Studies, 35(5), 903-924.. Nationwide, eviction is not random across all rental properties – it is a tool being deployed at a higher rate by select landlords at the expense of renters, many of whom are low-income and people of color. In Phase Two of our eviction research, to be released in 2024, we will further explore how this national trend plays out in Bexar County by studying the structure of large, corporate landlords who own properties in the county and uncovering how eviction fits into their business models.
Understanding the trends that define the landscape of evictions in Bexar County is the first step towards enacting local controls to halt the rise in evictions and protect renters from the harmful impacts on their health and wellbeing. Stay tuned for more research on evictions and the entities contributing to the rising rate of eviction in Bexar County.
Questions, comments, or interested in collaborating? Reach out to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to Dr. Esteban Lopez Ochoa with UTSA Center for Urban and Regional Planning Research for his contribution to the Bexar County Eviction Case Dashboard.
- 1Whitney Airgood-Obrycki & Peyton Whitney. (2023, April 11). Lower-Income Renters Have Less Residual Income than Ever Before | Joint Center for Housing Studies. https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/blog/lower-income-renters-have-less-residual-income-ever
- 2U.S. Census Bureau. (2021). 2017 – 2021 American Community Survey 5-year table B25070. [Note: People who are marked as having cost burden “not computed” in ACS are not included.]
- 3Eviction. (n.d.). Texas Tenant Advisor. Retrieved October 20, 2023, from https://www.texastenant.org/moving-out-1/eviction
- 4Collinson, R., & Reed, D. (2018). The Effects of Evictions on Low-Income Households. NYU Law.
- 5Vásquez-Vera, H., Palència, L., Magna, I., Mena, C., Neira, J., & Borrell, C. (2017). The threat of home eviction and its effects on health through the equity lens: A systematic review. Social Science & Medicine, 175, 199–208. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.01.010
- 6Leung, L., Hepburn, P., & Desmond, M. (2021). Serial Eviction Filing: Civil Courts, Property Management, and the Threat of Displacement. Social Forces, 100(1), 316–344. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/soaa089
- 7Desmond, M., & Kimbro, R. T. (2015). Eviction’s Fallout: Housing, Hardship, and Health. Social Forces, 94(1), 295–324. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/sov044
- 8Houston, L. and Soto, V. (2021, March 10) Briefing on the Right to Counsel program for Culture and Neighborhood Services committee [PowerPoint slides]. Neighborhood Housing Services Department, City of San Antonio
- 9Zainulbhai, S., & Daly, N. (2022). Informal Evictions: Measuring Displacement Outside the Courtroom. New America. https://d1y8sb8igg2f8e.cloudfront.net/documents/Informal_Evictions_Measuring_Displacement_Outside_the_Courtroom_SdqLTVK.pdf
- 10Impact of Eviction on Credit and Future Housing | Texas Law Help. (2021, January 15). Texas Law Help. https://texaslawhelp.org/article/impact-of-eviction-on-credit-and-future-housing
- 11No Eviction without Representation. (2022). ACLU. https://www.aclu.org/wp-content/uploads/legal-documents/no_eviction_without_representation_research_brief_0.pdf
- 12Repairs. (n.d.). Texas Tenant Advisor. Retrieved October 20, 2023, from https://www.texastenant.org/while-you-are-renting/repairs
- 13Fleming-Klink, I., McCabe, B. J., & Rosen, E. (2023). Navigating an Overburdened Courtroom: How Inconsistent Rules, Shadow Procedures, and Social Capital Disadvantage Tenants in Eviction Court. City & Community, 15356841221141889.
- 14Garnham, M. V. and J. P. (2020, July 22). Undocumented immigrants behind on their rent are self-evicting across Texas. The Texas Tribune. https://www.texastribune.org/2020/07/22/evictions-texas-undocumented-immigrants/
- 15Fleming-Klink, I., McCabe, B. J., & Rosen, E. (2023). Navigating an Overburdened Courtroom: How Inconsistent Rules, Shadow Procedures, and Social Capital Disadvantage Tenants in Eviction Court. City & Community, 15356841221141889.
- 16U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2021). Income Limits. Retrieved October 23, 2023, from https://www.huduser.gov/Portal/datasets/il.html#year2021
- 17Racial and Gender Disparities among Evicted Americans. (2020, December 16). Eviction Lab. https://evictionlab.org/demographics-of-eviction/
- 18U.S. Census Bureau. (2021). 2017 – 2021 American Community Survey 5-year table B04006.
- 19Khalifa, Y. (2020, October 19). The census doesn’t count Arab Americans. That leaves some Texans feeling invisible. The Texas Tribune. https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/19/2020-census-texas-arab-mena/
- 20Immergluck, D., Ernsthausen, J., Earl, S., & Powell, A. (2020). Evictions, large owners, and serial filings: Findings from Atlanta. Housing Studies, 35(5), 903-924.