The Real Deal New York

Evictions are nosediving as tenants increasingly lawyer up

City Hall to spend $100M on tenant legal assistance this fiscal year: report

August 30, 2016 03:57PM

The Harlem Court House and Bill de Blasio

The Harlem Courthouse and Bill de Blasio

A growing number of tenants fighting eviction are backed by a lawyer, according to a new report by the City’s Office of Civil Justice.

The report found that 27 percent of tenants who appear in housing court work with an attorney, up from a mere 1 percent in 2013. At the same time, the number of evictions by a marshal dropped by 24 percent.

The agency claimed the development is due to City Hall’s efforts to make free or low-cost legal help available to low-income tenants facing eviction. This fiscal year alone, the administration expects to spend $100 million on the program.

Landlords have long worked with lawyers in housing court, which has traditionally put them at an advantage over tenants who are left to fend for themselves. City Hall has set aside funds to provide legal assistance to 33,000 households – or about 113,000 people – in the fiscal year 2017, according to Crain’s.

Council member Benjamin Kallos recently proposed stronger regulation on data companies that provide tenant blacklists to landlords. [Crain’s]Konrad Putzier

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