December 5, 2021

T-Break

Let'S Talk Law

How renters can get free legal help as NJ eviction moratorium ends

The stakes are high in landlord-tenant court. If a judge rules against a renter, gone is the roof over her head, causing a cascade of consequences that can impact the ability to hold a job or get to work, where a child goes to school, or a parent’s mental health. 

Yet with so much on the line, renters are often outmatched and underprepared in court. While landlords have a lawyer helping them through the confusing, rapidly-changing legal process in about 90{48802e074c5f965745cb161aba42404553935aa8d7cf9aecda1745fcd7825477} of cases, renters have legal help in less than 10{48802e074c5f965745cb161aba42404553935aa8d7cf9aecda1745fcd7825477} of cases. If a tenant, lacking legal guidance, doesn’t know to show up to trial, a judge usually rules in the landlord’s favor. 

New Jersey is trying to level the playing field in a system that disproportionately impacts families of color, with Black women facing the highest rates of eviction, according to an analysis from Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.