Housing Courts Must Change! Campaign


Housing Courts Must Change! (HCMC) is a statewide campaign launched by the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition in 2020 to transform the courts from an “eviction machine” to a place that holds landlords accountable, upholds tenants’ rights, and enables tenants to remain in their homes. Our goals, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, include slowing down eviction cases and expanding Right to Counsel across the state, so ALL tenants have and know about their rights and are emboldened to organize and fight to stop evictions.  


•  No evictions for anyone across NY State.  

•  Slow down eviction cases to ensure that tenants' rights are upheld.

•  Ensure that everyone facing eviction has and knows about the Right to Counsel.

•  Hold landlords accountable in and outside the courts.

•  Protect tenants' health and safety.

Read about our demands during the COVID-19 pandemic here










The COVID-19 pandemic made New York State's eviction crisis even worse. With more than 175,000 active eviction cases across the state (as of September 2023), New York communities need long term solutions that will keep them safe and securely housed. We're calling on NY State to pass Statewide Right to Counsel (S2721 / A1493), so ALL tenants across New York State have the right to a lawyer when facing an eviction.

Learn more about our Statewide Right to Counsel campaign

Local Right to Counsel laws must be defended! We know that 84% of tenants who have a lawyer are able to stay in their home. RTC is only effective if tenants are given the time they need to find a lawyer. 

The NYS legislature must pass our Defend Right to Counsel Legislation (S3254 / A4993)  to ensure that tenants in localities that have passed a Right to Counsel law are given the time they need to be connected to legal representation!

Learn more about our Statewide Defend RTC Legislation and our Defend Right to Counsel campaign.


Evictions tear apart families and communities, result in homelessness, and can cause serious mental and physical health problems. Especially during the winter months, New Yorkers need stable housing to keep kids in school, protect from infectious disease, and stay safe from the brutal cold. We're calling on NY State to pass a Winter Eviction Moratorium (S1403/A4093), to keep New Yorkers in their homes and out of the cold.

Learn more about our Winter Eviction Moratorium campaign (Español).

Read a letter of support for the legislation signed by 29 organizations from across New York State.

Right to Counsel WORKS! When tenants' Right to Counsel is upheld, landlords sue tenants less, evictions plummet, and nearly EVERYONE who has the Right to Counsel remains in their homes. NOW ALL OF THAT IS AT RISK

We’ve been calling on the courts to slow down cases since COVID began (initially our demand was to stop all cases!) when we launched the Housing Courts Must Change! Campaign. There is NO REASON that evictions move faster than any other type of civil court case. There is no reason to return to pre-pandemic norms of calendaring a ton of cases in every part, every day, and prioritizing speed over justice. We must defend Right to Counsel and ensure that the courts are upholding tenants' rights. 

Learn more about our work to DEFEND Right to Counsel.


Right to Counsel is proven to stop evictions, but many tenants don't know they have the right to a free lawyer or are scared to exercise their rights. Everyone who is eligible for Right to Counsel has a right to know about it! We're urging the City to allocate $5 million of the NYC budget towards Local Law 53, so tenant organizers across NYC can work to ensure that tenants know about their Right to Counsel and can use it to stop evictions. $5 million would fund more than 40 tenant organizers across the City plus administrative and other associated costs. 

Learn more about our campaign to Fund Local Law 53


In 2021 two crucial pieces of legislation to expand and strengthen Right to Counsel for NYC tenants were signed into law!

•  Local Law 54 went into effect in June 2021 and accelerated the implementation of Right to Counsel by more than a year.

•  Local Law 53 went into effect in November 2021 and requires the City to work with trusted tenant organizing groups to engage and educate tenants about their Right to Counsel.



For organizations: endorse our legislation or become a campaign member!