Brief Masking the Scarlet “E"
A Study on California’s Attempt to Mask Eviction Records through AB 2819
Lauren Fung, Isabella Remor, Katie Fallon, Nyla Holland
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The impact of eviction is stark; individuals, families, and communities face economic, health, and housing stability impacts that can extend well beyond the date of eviction. In particular, an eviction filing on a tenant’s background report can act like a scarlet “E,” following them for years. Most landlords view any eviction filing record as a disqualifying event. Yet the eviction filing data themselves and the tenant screening reports they are used in are often inaccurate or incomplete. Low-quality data combined with high individual impact have led some states and localities to question how eviction records should be handled and made available, especially in cases where the filing is dismissed, the filing is dropped, or the defendant is found not at fault. This brief focuses on how California is aiming to reduce the impact of eviction filing records. We analyze the passage and impact of Assembly Bill 2819 to change how eviction filings are masked. We conclude with emerging best practices and considerations for the possible passage of similar policies.

Research Areas Housing
Tags Evictions
Policy Centers Research to Action Lab