De Blasio Administration Reports Record 27% Decrease in Evictions as Access to Legal Assistance for Low-Income New Yorkers in Housing Court Increases

January 26, 2018

In 2017 alone, there was a 5 percent decrease in residential evictions from 2016 and over the last four years, an estimated 70,000 people have remained in their homes

New York—The de Blasio Administration today announced that residential evictions by marshals declined 27 percent since 2013, when there were nearly 29,000 evictions annually.  Evictions decreased 5 percent in 2017, representing a total of 1,015 households and an estimated 3,000 New Yorkers across all five boroughs who were able to remain in their homes. The number of evictions in 2017 was 21,074 compared to 22,089 in 2016. Over the last four years, an estimated 70,000 people have remained in their homes as a result of decreased evictions. 

“Preventing homelessness is a key element to turning the tide, which is why we’ve expanded and invested in legal assistance for low-income New Yorkers,” said Mayor de Blasio. “By deepening investments in tenant legal services we’ve been able to build on our progress and help 70,000 people keep their homes.”

“Since 2014, 180,000 New Yorkers have benefited from our expanded tenant legal services and this is just the beginning,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks.  “Evictions are continuing to decline thanks to New York City’s new Universal Access Law and our deepening commitment to fighting homelessness.”

At the same time as evictions are down, the City continues to increase access to free legal representation for low-income New Yorkers facing eviction in Housing Court.  In 2017, Mayor de Blasio signed legislation making New York City the first and only city in the country to ensure that all tenants facing eviction in Housing Court or termination hearings in NYCHA public housing have access to free legal services. When fully implemented in 2022, this initiative is expected to provide legal assistance to 400,000 New Yorkers facing eviction and displacement each year.

The substantial decrease in evictions is a result of the de Blasio Administration’s efforts to make City-funded legal services and other prevention services for low-income tenants accessible. The City increased funding for legal assistance for tenants facing eviction and harassment from $6 million in Fiscal Year 2013 to over $77 million in Fiscal Year 2018, more than a twelve-fold increase in total.

The Universal Access Law, which is overseen by the Civil Justice Coordinator at the Human Resources Administration, is being rolled out beginning with high need neighborhoods.  Annual funding for legal services for tenants will increase to $155 million when Universal Access is fully implemented in Fiscal Year 2022.

These programs are leveling the playing field for tenants in housing court across the five boroughs.  So far, HRA’s tenant legal services programs have successfully contributed to an increase in legal representation for tenants facing eviction in Housing Court from 1 percent of tenants represented in court in 2013 to 27 percent in 2016, as 99 percent of landlords had legal representation.  HRA’s tenant legal services programs have provided more than 180,000 New Yorkers with legal services since 2014.

With the implementation of Universal Access underway, the City’s Public Engagement Unit and the Human Resources Administration will be conducting outreach in key areas as services are rolled out to ensure that tenants can take advantage of this important assistance.

Call 311 or visit the City's housing portal at nyc.gov/longliveny for legal help fighting eviction. 

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