All about Cleveland's eviction right to counsel

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02/05/2021, Legislation, Housing - Evictions

Update: first report shows incredible success of Cleveland RTC


A report is now out about the first 6 months of Cleveland’s right to counsel.  The bottom line is that 93% of those represented avoided eviction or involuntary move, 83% who were seeking additional time to move were able to get it, and 89% of those seeking to mitigate damages were able to do so.  The report’s release was covered by WOSUCleveland dot com, Fox 8, WKYC, and Ideastream.

Update: Cleveland right to counsel has launched!


Cleveland’s right to counsel, enacted in October 2019, launched on July 1 2020.  Coverage of the launch was in Ideastream and News 5 Cleveland.


Update: United Way of Greater Cleveland commits resources to right to counsel


A press release from the United Way of Greater Cleveland details the organization's commitment of $3 million of bridge funding to help launch the right to counsel for Cleveland tenants facing eviction.  The right to counsel in ordinance in Cleveland also charges UWGC with implementation of the program.


Elsewhere, FreshWater explored the planned implementation of the right to counsel for tenants with children.


Update: Case Western study looks at impact of evictions on child health/school in Cleveland


Case Western study commissioned by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland found, among other things, that evicted children are at higher risk of lead exposure and negative educational outcomes, and that low-income black women are evicted at a disproportionate rate.


Update: Cleveland bar journal looks at recent passage of eviction right to counsel


Two articles in the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal look at the recent passage of the ordinance establishing a right to counsel in Cleveland eviction cases.  The first is by Cleveland Council President Kevin Kelley (who introduced the ordinance) while the other is by Bar President Ian Friedman and highlights the incredible work of Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, and in particular NCCRC participant Hazel Remesch, to build this right to counsel effort up from nothing.


Update: City Council passes bill, making Cleveland first midwest city with an eviction right to counsel


In October 2019, the Cleveland City Council passed the right to counsel bill, establishing a right to counsel to tenants facing eviction who are at or below 100% of the federal poverty level and have children.  Coverage is in News 5 Cleveland,, Crain’s Cleveland Business, and WZAK.  There are also press releases from the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland (the service provider) and the United Way (the implementer).




On August 21, 2019, a bill was introduced to the Cleveland City Council that would provide a right to counsel for families with children facing eviction who are at or below 100% of the federal poverty line.  Eviction has roughly 9,000 evictions filed per year and only 1-2% of tenants currently have counsel.  The bill asserts that 


lack of legal counsel for tenants during eviction cases is a violation of a basic human right ... this housing emergency destabilizes families and neighborhoods, especially the most vulnerable among us, resulting in homelessness, decreased property values, and harm to social tranquility and the general welfare of the City ...these conditions pose a serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of the City, as well as to the City’s economic stability, viability and growth.

The bill's introduction was covered by the Cleveland Plains-Dealer and Law360.  You can also check out the press release from Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.  

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes



The NCCRC has worked with advocates over the last several years to advance this bill.