Equal Access to the Law

Eviction cases are heard in civil court, where no public defenders are provided, and it is impossible for people in low-income households to afford a private attorney. Therefore low-income tenants are left to defend themselves at court without legal representation. Landlords on the other hand have experienced attorneys who specialize in eviction cases. To compound matters, landlord-tenant law is vastly complex and the courts have a system of strict and confusing bureaucratic rules. Because of the adversarial nature of our legal system, even tenants with strong defenses are likely to lose their cases unless they have knowledge of the law and the skills to articulate their defenses.

At the EDC we help to balance the playing field in eviction cases by teaching tenants about their rights, how to meet the court's deadlines, and how to represent themselves.

At the EDC we help to balance the playing field in eviction cases by teaching tenants about their rights, how to meet the court's deadlines, and how to represent themselves. We also provide assistance to tenants in negotiating with their landlords and refer appropriate cases to our partner agencies for full representation. Through our new Trial Project, we can now represent some tenants whose cases do not settle at settlement conference.

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