New York City Guarantees a Lawyer to Every Resident Facing Eviction

The new law protecting low-income tenants is the first in the nation.
News Story (New York)

Kriston Capps
August 14, 2017

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC), Legal Services NYC (LSNYC), Legal Services Corporation (LSC)


The law promises legal representation to any resident facing eviction whose income is 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less. The act could transform housing court in New York, where landlords appear with counsel in more than 90 percent of cases. Until 2014, tenants were represented in just 1 to 10 percent of cases.

“When you have that kind of imbalance, not occasionally but almost guaranteed in every case, it starts to change the entire way that the court works and the entire way that the justice system works,” says John Pollock, coordinator for the National Coalition of the Civil Right to Counsel. “Cases are disposed of quickly. There’s not really any due process.”