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
South Texas College of Law Houston Veterans Clinic, 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.”