This is a huge win for the city’s renters. AARP New York is proud to have fought for this fair and fiscally sensible policy.
As part of the Right to Counsel Coalition, we fought for this issue because we know that preventing illegal evictions will help our members and all New Yorkers.
The cards have been stacked against tenants, many of whom have lived in danger of eviction, because while 90 percent of landlords have legal representation in housing court, only 30 percent of tenants do.
The Right to Counsel Coalition estimated that half of all evictions in New York City could be prevented with the help of a lawyer.
The mayor and City Council must still finalize the details of legislation, but when the Right to Counsel law is enacted, it will level the playing field for tenants in housing court, creating a fairer New York and saving millions in taxpayer dollars in the process by keeping people out of the expensive shelter system.
Chris Widelo is associate state director for AARP New York.