Leveling the Legal Playing Field: Tenants Fight for Homes with the Help of Right to Counsel

Right to Counsel gives power back to tenants, especially as they face landlords represented by powerful law firms, according to Heejung Kook, the housing unit deputy director for Legal Services NYC.

News Story (New York)

Hibah Ansari
Bronx Ink
October 22, 2019
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Tags: Housing: Eviction, Right to Counsel

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society (New York City), Legal Services NYC (LSNYC)


DETAILS

New York City passed its historic Universal Access to Legal Representation law, also known as Right to Counsel, in 2017. It ensures free legal services to low-income Bronx tenants living in four ZIP codes, 10457, 10462, 10467 and 10468. In just two years, evictions in the Bronx decreased by 23%, according to the New York City Office of Civil Justice Annual Report. In a city where two-thirds of residents rent, the Bronx claimed the highest decrease in evictions since Right to Counsel was implemented.

The Right to Counsel NYC Coalition advocated for the law. They’re now campaigning to expand it so that more tenants, like Thompson, can be eligible. They partner with other organizations like Legal Services NYC.