HousingWire is reporting that New York City will provide legal counsel to low-income tenants facing eviction – for any reason. Under legislation signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this month, NYC became the first city in the nation to provide such an entitlement when receiving an eviction notice. The mayor expressed his “hope” that this bill will spread to other cities and states across the country. For purposes of the law, low-income families are defined as those households making less that $50k per year.
“It’s impossible to overstate the significance of this on a national level,” said John Pollock, Coordinator of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, which worked with the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition. “New York City has broken the ice on a right to counsel in housing cases, and now we’re hearing lots of other cities and states saying they want to be next.”
Perhaps in an effort to entertain the gathered crowd, the City’s Public Advocate, Letitia James reportedly gave an Oprah Winfrey impression as she exclaimed “You get a lawyer and you get and lawyer and you get a lawyer.” Indeed….