Dozens of Bronx residents, housing advocates and community leaders gathered at Bronx Housing Court to rally for tenants facing evictions on Monday.
They claim many of those tenants don’t have legal representation.
Advocates are calling on the city’s housing court system to slow down evictions in compliance with a 2017 law that required New Yorkers to have an attorney in eviction cases.
Since the eviction moratorium expired in January, the group says more than 200,000 evictions cases have been filed in the city’s housing court system.
Advocates want the housing court system and its judges to adjourn cases in which a tenant does not have an attorney to represent them.
They’re also urging judges to set a cap on the number of eviction cases on their calendars.
Some community leaders shared their personal experiences. They say every New Yorker facing eviction has a right to an attorney and not having one will only increase the number of homeless New Yorkers.
The Office of Court Administration, which represents the city’s court system, released a statement on the issue saying, “The situation in Bronx Housing Court is not about the right to counsel law. It is about a legal services provider who is incapable of carrying out their contractual obligations regarding assigned counsel. They have refused every case assigned this month. Therein lies the problem. We have notified New York City’s Office of Civil Justice, which provides the funding for the right to counsel program, of the situation and are working with them to resolve the issue. It only serves to slow down the process further delaying adjudications for both tenants and landlords.”
Advocates say they will continue to work with tenants who face losing their homes.