October 6, 2020
The right to an attorney in evictions is guaranteed in several U.S. cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Newark, and San Francisco. Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott has now introduced Council Bill 20-0625 to provide renters the right to legal counsel in eviction cases in Baltimore City. This bill would:
E-mail your Councilmember via this link from our friends at Jews United for Justice to show your support for this bill and protect renters in Baltimore City. Details about Council Bill 20-0625 are available here.
Evictions cause and reinforce poverty, and Baltimore City has one of the highest eviction rates in the United States (5.3%). Evictions disproportionately impact Black female-headed households, who have an eviction rate of 7.3%. Approximately 70,000 eviction orders are issued in Baltimore City each year and 6,000 to 7,000 households are evicted. In 2020, Baltimore City families are facing heightened economic hardship during COVID-19 and the lack of rental relief or eviction protection has created an impending eviction crisis.
Currently, 96% of landlords are represented in eviction cases while only 1% of renters are represented. A recent report estimated that if all tenants were represented in Baltimore City, 92% could avoid eviction. Furthermore, the report estimates that with an investment of $5.7 million in counsel for low-income tenants, the City and State could save $35.6 million in social safety net resources – including costs related to homeless shelters, Medicaid spending in hospitals, lost state funding to City schools, and foster care costs.