More New Yorkers Facing Eviction Are Getting Lawyers

According to the first annual impact report from NYC’s brand-new Office of Civil Justice (OCJ), 27 percent of tenants facing an eviction case in court were represented by a lawyer in the past year, compared to only 1 percent in 2013.
News Story (New York)

Oscar Perry Abello
September 13, 2016

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Urban Justice Center (UJC) (New York City)


UJC’s housing attorneys have represented tenants in all kinds of cases involving these and other harassment tactics. In one particularly egregious example, they’re working right now with one building in the Bronx whose old owner did not give notice to tenants that there was a new owner. Tenants kept sending rent checks to the old owner, who pocketed the money. Meanwhile, the new owner started filing eviction cases against tenants.

There is one big difference today from 2008: The city is providing more support for UJC and other groups that provide civil legal services to tenants. Wright is now one of two supervising attorneys on the UJC’s housing practice team of 11 staff, seven of whom he says were hired this year, thanks to a huge ramp-up in city funding.

This year marks the first time NYC has allocated more than $100 million to tenant legal services. Mayoral funding for tenant legal services in FY2017 is 10 times what it was in FY2014. City council members have added more support from their discretionary funds.