Study: Philly tenants facing eviction too often lack legal representation

The Philadelphia Bar Association released a study that shows the city could save more than $45 million dollars annually in costs if it invested $3.5 million a year to ensure all low-income tenants have legal assistance in eviction court.

News Story (Pennsylvania)

Jake Blumgart
The South Texas College of Law Houston Clinical Programs and The Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics, WHYY (PA)
November 13, 2018

Tags: Funding: State & Local, Housing: Eviction


A lawyer is only guaranteed in criminal court. As a result, the study found that between 2007 and 2016, 80 percent of landlords are represented, while only 7 percent of renters are.

“There is a huge disparity of power and knowledge so low-income renters end up doing very poorly,” said Ethan Fogel, a partner with Dechert LLP, a major law firm that performs pro bono tenant-side work. “People are intimidated. There are all sorts of complicated rules and the tenant often doesn’t know about them, so they can’t mount a credible defense.”