Mark Levine, a New York City Council member, has a bill in the hopper that would retain an attorney, at public expense, for low-income tenants facing eviction. In a Times op-ed authored by Levine and Mary Brosnahan of the Coalition for the Homeless, they cite some stark statistics:
▪ Only ten percent of tenants facing eviction in New York City have lawyers, while nearly 100 percent of evicting landlords are represented by counsel.
▪ Tenants represented by counsel are 80 percent less likely to be evicted than those acting pro se.
▪ Nearly 29,000 New York City households were evicted last year.
▪ Providing an attorney for a tenant would cost taxpayers about $2,500, but sheltering a homeless family in New York City costs, on average, more than $45,000.
One New Jersey Supreme Court case, Cashin v. Bello, focused on a real estate matter this week. It was an unusually interesting case. The Star-Ledgerexplains:
The legal issue involves the grounds upon which a landlord can evict a tenant in order to occupy a home. Under New Jersey law, a landlord may evict a tenant from a building with three units or less if he or she intends to occupy the unit.
However, Cashin was prevented from evicting Bello for many years because she also owns an adjacent apartment building at 627 Washington Street with five rental units and both the apartment and the converted garage are listed in tax records as being part of the same property.
Bello has been living in the carriage house since 1973, and is paying just $345 per month under the Hoboken rent control law. Cashin — whose name seems apt in this case — has been trying to evict Bello since the 1980s. Now she can. The Supreme Court held that the lower courts had erred by treating the entire land parcel as a single building, containing more than three units, rather than treating the carriage house, alone, as a single, one-unit building. The temporary New Jersey Courts link is alive for now, but the original opinion will be archived next week at the Rutgers Law Library in Newark.
For your curiosity’s sake, here’s a look at the house: