Every day, hundreds of tenants across the city are being denied Right to Counsel. Since the lifting of the eviction moratorium in January 2022, more than 33,000 households facing eviction have been forced to represent themselves in housing court, even though the vast majority of them have the right to an attorney under NYC law. This is outrageous! This is why we are doing COURT WATCH!
Through Court Watch, we make sure tenants know they have the right to an attorney AND that they have the right to ask judges to uphold the law by granting them an adjournment so that they have more time to get an attorney to represent them.
We make sure tenants know that they are not alone in their struggle--there are thousands of tenants like them fighting to Defend Right to Counsel.
In August: We talked to 900 tenants through Court Watch- Most tenants we spoke to did not know that they had a right to an attorney and they were being denied!
I’ve been doing courtwatch with CMS since November 2022. It’s a great way to let tenants know about the rights [tenant’s] fought for (which puts pressure on the judicial system to uphold those rights) and loop tenants into our movement. However, we’ve had to navigate challenges along the way, such as organizing people/communities who are undergoing crisis, and challenging them to imagine building power outside the traditional legal system
-Bryan Fontino, Catholic Migration Services Tenant Organizer
Court Watch Spotlight
Hanny Chandry is a Queens tenant who has repeatedly been DENIED her Right to Counsel. She is fighting her eviction case on her own after being improperly served. Algin Management, Hanny’s landlord, owns 3,500 units throughout the city and is a notorious evictor- filing 62 evictions in Hanny’s building alone since 2017.
Organizers from Catholic Migration Services connected with her through Court Watch this August and quickly mobilized around her case. This is an example of why we do courtwatch!
“I know that I need support and I know that I’m not the only one going through this. Even my friends, one just skipped work to go to court. When I see people doing rallies, it gives me energy. We’re fighting for something with our inner strength. The outer part is messed up. I think what we need is inner strength. I’m not worried. I’m not afraid.”
CMS members will be rallying in support of Hanny in Queens Housing Court on September 18th @9 am 2023. PLEASE JOIN US IN SUPPORTING HANNY IN HER HOUSING COURT CASE!!
A Look at the Numbers
In the Bronx alone, more than 13,000 tenants have had to face their eviction case alone without a housing attorney, even though the vast majority were eligible. This is the highest number of unrepresented tenants of any borough in the City. Since the pandemic protections were lifted in January 2022, 10,482 families have been evicted from their homes by a marshall.
Call To Action!
JOIN our Bronx Court Watch Action!
October 2nd at 9 am we will be rallying outside of Bronx Housing Court to let tenants know about their Right to Counsel and to call on the city to Defend RTC.
We know that the Bronx faces the highest rates of unrepresented tenants who've been denied RTC- that ain't right! RSVP HERE to join us in to demand more for Bronx tenants!
CALL your Reps and ask that they Defend RTC!
We shouldn’t have to do Court Watch. The Chief Judge could issue an administrative order to pause all cases for tenants until they get RTC. The state legislature could pass legislation to force the courts to uphold the law. Join us to take action to push for our demands!
→ Call your council members TODAY and ask them to sign on to resolutions in support of two important pieces of legislation to expand and strengthen RTC for all NY tenants:
- Resolution 499: Calls on the New York State legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, A.4993/S.3254, requiring that any tenant eligible for right to counsel be granted the necessary adjournments by the court to ensure counsel.
- Resolution 345: Calls on the New York State legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign,(A.1493/S.2721) so that all New York tenants have Right to Counsel.
TALK to tenants with us in Housing Court!
We need more volunteers for Court Watch so we can talk to even more tenants! Join us to meet your neighbors and build our movement to expand tenants' power and fight evictions.
—> Sign up HERE to join us to do Courtwatch for your neighbors in housing court.
Reach out to Brianna with the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition for more information or questions at (646) 727-0597 or email us at [email protected]