TENANT RIGHT TO COUNSEL laws
We've put together a comprehensive resource examining all the details of the tenant right to counsel laws that have passed at the city/state level.
Landlord/tenant representation statistics
For many years, it was regularly reported that tenants were represented 10% of the time, compared to 90% of landlords. However, our most recent data from several dozen jurisdictions actually puts the tenant representation figure at a mere 3% and the landlord figure at 81%.
Federal funding for tenant right to counsel
We have an entire page set up about eviction right to counsel federal funding. It includes a table explaining how all the funding sources work, a webinar featuring jurisdictions discussing how they accessed the funding, and a comprehensive list of jurisdictions that have made federal funding commitments to eviction right to counsel or tenant representation expansion.
tenant right to counsel studies, reports, and writeups
Stout, a financial analysis company, has done a number of studies estimating the costs and benefits of providing a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction. Every report has found that cities and states will save far more than they spend to provide such a right, due to avoided costs around shelters, health care, foster care, and other social safety net services.
Other impact studies
Our comprehensive bibliography tracks the studies that have analyzed the impact of providing counsel for tenants in eviction cases.
- ACLU and NCCRC, Tenants’ Right to Counsel is Critical to Fight Mass Evictions and Advance Race Equity During the Pandemic and Beyond
- Emily Benfer, The American Eviction Crisis, Explained
- Center for American Progress, A Right to Counsel is a Right to a Fighting Chance
- FedCommunities, Eviction Moratorium Highlights Need for Tenants To Have Counsel
- Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Evictions Highlight Need for Tenants To Have Counsel
- National League of Cities and NCCCRC, Using Right to Counsel as an Eviction Diversion Strategy
Organizing around the tenant right to counsel
Historically, the movement for a right to counsel in civil cases has been driven by the legal community: legal services organizations, private bar associations, law firms, pro bono organizations, nonprofits, access to justice commissions, legal academics, and so on. However, efforts to establish a right to counsel in eviction cases have been achieved in places like New York City, San Francisco, and Newark largely through the efforts of community-based tenant organizing group. When the right to counsel campaigns are centered upon such groups, achievement of the right to counsel can not only increase fairness in the judicial system, but also help transform the general power dynamic between tenants and landlords.
In November 2019, the NCCRC co-hosted a 90-minute webinar with the Right to Counsel Coalition of NYC (RTCNYC) to explore how attorneys can work with tenant organizers in order to pursue a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction. Here are the materials from that webinar:
Additionally, RTCNYC has developed:
- An organizing toolkit for jurisdictions looking to initiate a campaign around an eviction right to counsel;
- A campaign map displaying where campaigns are active;
- A convening of organizers that led to a list of shared principles for legislation.
Finally, you can check out the Lessons from Four Cities Fighting to Stop Evictions with Right to Counsel, which outlines lessons on a variety of topics: organizing, campaign beginnings and strategies, changing the landlord-tenant power imbalance, and much more (including a thorough resource list). These lessons emerged during a webinar series co-hosted by RTCNYC and NCCRC.