The Potential Benefits and Estimated Cost of an Eviction Right to Counsel Outside of New York City

FACT SHEET:  The Potential Benefits and Estimated Cost of an Eviction Right to Counsel Outside of New York City

Statewide Right to Counsel (S.6678A/A7570B) ) strengthens Right to Counsel in New York City and guarantees the right to a free lawyer to ALL tenants facing eviction across New York State.  To estimate the total cost of a statewide Right to Counsel, we worked with Stout to produce an analysis of the cost associated with providing free legal representation for tenants outside New York City. Combining the outside New york City cost estimate with an updated cost estimate for an expanded Right to Counsel in New York City gets us to the total statewide cost- Our estimated minimum total cost of providing Right to Counsel to tenants statewide is on our website at https://www.righttocounselnyc.org/statewidertccost

Once enacted into law, statewide Right to Counsel will be phased over seyeral years. The benefits and cost of Right to Counsel outside New York City included in this fact sheet would happen at full implementation. For the complete cost analysis and more research on the benefits of Right to Counsel outside New York City, read the full report at: bit.ly/RTCCostStudyOutsideNYC 

BENEFITS

Approximately 46,600 tenant households outside New York City would receive legal representation under a statewide eviction Right to Counsel.

Approximately 97% of tenants who appear in eviction court would benefit from Right to Counsel. With dedicated funding to community organizing and outreach, the percentage of tenants that accept free legal representation will likely be closer to 100%.

Right to Counsel makes it harder for landlords to use evictions as a tactic to harass and displace tenants. Implementations of a statewide eviction Right to Counsel could decrease eviction filings outside New York City by at least 19% (over 5 years at an annual decline of 5%, starting in year 2). Eviction filings may decrease more (such as in New York City where they dropped by 30%, or less depending on the effectiveness of implementation and the state’s commitment to tenant organizing and outreach about the Right to Counsel.

When a tenant doesn’t appear in court, the judge can issue a default judgment, which allows the court to issue an eviction warrant. A statewide eviction Right to Counsel would reduce the number of default judgments outside New York City, with an expected 32% decline in default rates.

lmplementing a statewide eviction Right to Counsel would likely save New York state and local governments millions of public dollars (over and above the cost of providing the Right) that would otherwise be spent on shelter, emergency room costs, homelessness services, and more. Like most cities and states with an eviction Right to Counsel, New York State could see cost savings of $3 – $6 per dollar invested in Right to Counsel.  For example, Stout estimated that Baltimore could save $3.06 per dollar and the state of Maryland could see cost savings of $6.24 per dollar (Baltimore City plus Maryland), from the same investment in an eviction Right to Counsel.

COST

$144 million – $20o million is the estimated cost of providing an eviction Right to counsel to ALL tenants (with no income restrictions) outside New York City.

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