In November 2018, San Francisco voters passed Prop F, which guaranteed any San Francisco tenants facing eviction the right to legal counsel. The law that was fully implemented in 2019 with the help of the Eviction Defense Collaborative as the lead implementation agency.
The resulting Tenant Right to Counsel program has since provided all tenants (regardless of income level) with the right to a free attorney, helping to keep more people housed and mitigate the imbalance between landlords, the vast majority of whom go into an eviction with an attorney, and tenants, the vast majority of whom do not. The program is funded by the City and legal services are provided through several non-profit organizations.
According to data published by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, in the first year of the Tenant Right to Counsel Program’s implementation, 67% of clients who received representation throughout all stages of the case (i.e. full scope representation) were able to stay in their homes, while an impressive 80% of Black tenants who received an eviction notice and sought help through the program were able to stay in their homes. Meanwhile, Eviction Defense Collaborative data from 2021 shows that many of the full-scope represented clients who do not retain their units are nevertheless able to reach favorable settlements through the program, with 70% of tenants reporting that they were granted sufficient time and money to move into other housing.
- City of San Francisco
- Eviction Defense Collaborative