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Baltimore Right to Counsel

As Baltimore braces for a rising wave of eviction actions due to COVID-19, the Public Justice Center and allies in the Baltimore Renters United coalition urge lawmakers to establish the right to an attorney for tenants in eviction cases in order to keep tenants in their homes.

A new report by Stout Risius Ross (Stout) shows that establishing a right to counsel with a $5.7 million investment would dramatically reduce the number of tenants displaced by eviction and yield $35.6 million in benefits or costs avoided to Baltimore City and Maryland.

Another report by Dr. Timothy Thomas finds that the number of evictions of Black women is 3.9 times higher (296% more) than the number of evictions of white men. This disparity makes eviction a civil rights issue.

Cities around the country are adopting a right to counsel to redress this wrong, level the playing field between landlord and tenant, and stop evictions. Baltimore should join these cities and make a down payment now of federal funds on right to counsel along with rental assistance and permanently affordable housing – while passing legislation to create and fund a right to counsel in eviction cases. Learn about Council Bill 20-0625 here, which would establish this right.

Learn more about the Baltimore Right to Counsel campaign on the Baltimore Renters United website.