Limited Representation Helps Tenants Who Would Otherwise Face Eviction Alone

Sharing simple information about the law and the eviction process can help tenants buy time to relocate or to negotiate a different outcome with their landlords.

Op-Ed (Georgia)

Darcy Meals
Daily Report (Georgia)
December 31, 2019

Tags: Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Georgia State University College of Law Center for Access to Justice, Housing Court Assistance Center (Fulton County, Georgia)


For a program that operates for only six hours each week and is run almost exclusively by volunteer attorneys and law students, the HCAC’s limited representation model has made a significant impact. As detailed in a recent report from Georgia State Law’s Center for Access to Justice, since reopening in 2017, the HCAC has served more than 1,315 tenants, most of them African American.

While the organization’s volunteers do not provide full legal representation and never appear before a judge on behalf of a client, they do provide detailed advice and information to tenants who have received an eviction notice. This includes help with filing an answer, asserting defenses and counterclaims, and appellate procedure and post-judgment motions.

Renters in Georgia are almost twice as likely to be evicted as the average United States renter, according to Eviction Lab. Those living in the Atlanta metro area, where rents are high and affordable housing is scarce, are particularly vulnerable. In Fulton County—Georgia’s most populous county—107 evictions were filed every day in 2015, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. That’s nearly 40,000 evictions filed in just one year.