New York City Bar Association Issues Statement on City Council’s Passage of Legislation Providing Counsel in New York City Housing Court

The New York City Bar Association applauds the City Council’s passage of historic legislation which will provide access to an attorney for low-income residents facing eviction in New York City Housing Court. The passage of Int. 0214 will provide the opportunity to alter – perhaps permanently – the legal landscape of landlord-tenant relations in low-income tenancies, and will allow the City to preserve affordable housing by ensuring that tenants properly raise their defenses both before and during court proceedings and, in doing so, avoid unwarranted displacement from their homes. Providing a lawyer to a tenant facing eviction not only increases the likelihood that the tenant will be able to avoid eviction, thereby reducing displacement, disruption and homelessness, but should also be highly cost-effective. A study done pro bono by Stout, Risius & Ross at the request of the City Bar’s Pro Bono and Legal Services Committee found that providing free legal counsel to low-income tenants facing eviction could save the City substantial sums in avoided costs of homelessness and other costs. The City Council, led by bill sponsors Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson, and the Mayor have been true leaders providing access to counsel. New York City’s move to pass this bill will set an example for all U.S. cities and the City Bar is proud to have supported the City’s efforts in taking this important step.

About the Association
The New York City Bar Association, since its founding in 1870, has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the legal profession, promoting reform of the law and access to justice, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association, through its 24,000 members, continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.