Statement from The Legal Aid Society Responding to Mayor, Council Speaker Announcement of Legislation Guaranteeing Tenants a Right to Counsel in Housing Court

The Legal Aid Society released the following statement today responding to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s announcement of proposed legislation guaranteeing a right to counsel for low-income tenants in housing court.

“The right to counsel in housing court is an issue The Legal Aid Society has long prioritized and advocated for. Justice cannot be achieved when over 90 percent of landlords have legal representation in eviction proceedings and 75 percent of tenants are unrepresented - and this is the unfortunate reality that plays out almost every day in housing courts around the city. We applaud Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito for their leadership on an historic legislative compromise that finally addresses a plight thousands of renters face each year. The right to counsel will save taxpayer dollars, reduce homelessness and establish parity in a system that has largely favored landlords over seniors, working class families and other low-income New Yorkers.”