Monday, April 9, 2018

Professors' Corner: Evictions and Tenant Blacklisting


A Place to Call Home: Tenant Blacklisting and the Denial of Opportunity


Professor Paula Franzese, Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law


Professor James C. Durham, University of Dayton School of Law

Every day across the United States countless residential tenants face the prospect of eviction. Tenants named in an eviction proceeding, no matter the outcome or the context, find themselves placed on damning registries collected and maintained by "tenant reporting services." Tenants whose names appear on these so-called "blacklists" are denied future renting opportunities, stigmatized and excluded from the promise of fair housing. To compound the problem, the landlord-tenant laws, meant to be tenant-protective, exacerbate the crisis in housing displacement. An empirical study that that I recently completed revealed that of the 40,000 residential eviction actions brought in one county in New Jersey in one year, only 80 had tenants asserting as a defense to non-payment of rent landlord's breach of the implied warranty of habitability. This no matter the significant reported instances of derelict and grossly substandard rental housing known to exist within that same county.

Landlord-tenant laws, as currently constituted and enforced, pose formidable bars to tenant enforcement of what we presume to be assured rights. This webinar will examine three of those impediments: 1.) the rent deposit requirement, 2.) tenant blacklisting and 3.) the absence of counsel for tenants facing eviction. Approximately 90 percent of landlords have legal counsel while 90 percent of tenants do not. Cities like New York and San Francisco have now implemented programs to provide counsel to low-income tenants. I am at work now on the promulgation of a similar program for the city of Newark.

Register now for this FREE program and join us every second Tuesday of each month for a discussion of these and other current issues.  (The content of this program does not meet requirements for continuing legal education (CLE) accreditation. You will not receive CLE credit for this program).

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