With More Lawyers for Tenants, City Says Evictions Are Dropping

On a typical weekday morning in Brooklyn housing court, there are lines of people just to get into a courtroom. People are pressed so close together you can hear tenants grousing about bedbugs and broken heating systems.

In the past, almost all of the attorneys here were representing landlords. But starting last year, New York City’s Right to Counsel law has provided free lawyers for tenants in 15 ZIP Codes throughout the city, three in each borough. The law is gradually rolling out and will serve 400,000 tenants when fully implemented in 2022, costing $155 million annually by that time.