S.F. tenants facing eviction could soon have the right to a free attorney

If the ballot initiative passes, it would be a watershed moment for a growing national movement. Cities across the country — especially those with housing shortages — are making legal counsel a basic right, not just a privilege for those who can afford it.

Audio, News Story (California)

Andrew Stelzer
KALW (San Francisco) (local NPR)
May 23, 2018

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC), Eviction Defense Center (Oakland)


Generally, there are three different kinds of people milling around, waiting their turn: The landlords and property managers, lots of nervous tenants — and two very different types of lawyers.

On the owners’ side, those layers are well paid. But on the tenants’ side, they’re usually volunteers, or work for nonprofits.

“People just don’t know their rights,” says Joe Colangelo, with the Eviction Defense Center. “I wouldn’t even know my rights if I hadn’t been doing this type of work.”