The latest threat to US landlords? Cities are arming tenants with lawyers

Free counsel is hard to implement, but so far appears effective at reducing evictions.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Dennis Lynch
The Real Deal
December 28, 2019

Tags: Housing: Eviction, Right to Counsel


The cities include San Francisco, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Newark, and Santa Monica. All but San Francisco limit assistance to tenants making around minimum wage. The number of people experiencing homelessness across the U.S. has trended upward over the last several years as rents have generally increased.

Most cities passed legislation to that effect last year. New York was the first city to guarantee the right to legal counsel in eviction cases about two years ago and so far the program, implemented by zip code, appears to be bringing down evictions.

From 2017 to 2018, evictions declined five times faster in those zip codes where tenants have the right to representation than those that didn’t, according to the nonprofit group Community Service Society.