Report: ‘Right to Counsel’ law helped reduce evictions

A city law that expanded legal representation for low-income tenants in housing court has been effective in reducing evictions, according to a new Community Service Society report.

News Story (New York)

Janaki Chadha
Politico New York
March 25, 2019

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services NYC (LSNYC)


The “Right to Counsel” law, which passed in 2017, requires the city to provide free attorneys to people who are currently fighting eviction cases and who make below 200 percent of the federal poverty line — or $50,200 for a family of four. The program is being phased in by zip code over five years.

The report found evictions in zip codes where the program has gone into effect dropped five times faster than those in comparable zip codes where the program is not yet available. Specifically, evictions in zip codes covered by the program fell 11 percent between 2017 and 2018, while evictions in other zip codes with comparable rates of poverty, evictions and rental units saw a 2 percent drop in evictions during the same time period.