Local Officials Endorse Right To Counsel In Eviction Cases

A bill being considered by state lawmakers in Massachusetts would provide legal counsel to low-income tenants facing eviction. In the midst of a worsening housing crunch, advocates are working to drum up local support for it.

Audio, News Story (Massachusetts)

Paul Tuthill
WAMC (NY)
July 17, 2019
READ THE FULL STORY HERE

Tags: Housing: Eviction, Right to Counsel


DETAILS

The Springfield City Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution endorsing the bill after hearing this week from tenants-rights advocates and attorneys who practice in Massachusetts Housing Courts.

“The goal of this bill is to try and level the playing field,” said  Hugh Heisler, a Springfield attorney.

He said having a lawyer in an eviction case can make a big difference in the outcome and often results in preventing someone from losing their home. But, in the vast majority of eviction cases tenants do not have an attorney.

“There are nonprofit legal services programs throughout the state, but their resources are so limited and the demand for legal assistance in eviction cases so enormous it overwhelms their capacity,” said Heisler.