Poor U.S. renters need legal support to stop evictions and keep homes – study

Most people fighting eviction in Baltimore do not know their legal rights, particularly rights that could allow them to keep a roof over their head, according to a study released this week by the Public Justice Center (PJC), a civil legal aid group.

News Story (Maryland)

Ellen Wulfhorst
Reuters News Service
December 9, 2015

Tags: Housing: Eviction, Rent Court, Research/Data


Some 7,000 households have been evicted each year in Baltimore since 2012, yet a majority of people facing eviction have valid reasons to fight back although most arrive in court without a lawyer, the research found.

The research illustrates the human cost of a lack of affordable housing that afflicts cities across the United States, exacerbating a cycle of poverty, said Zafar Shah, an PJC attorney recommending a raft of legal measures to help tenants.

“All over the country, cities like Baltimore are struggling,” he said, adding that poor renters face stagnant or falling wages, joblessness and tenuous public assistance.

“In place of a real response to the affordability crisis here, you simply have 7,000 people being booted out of their home every year.”