Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Paula Franzese (Seton Hall) has posted A Place to Call Home: Tenant Blacklisting and the Denial of Opportunity (Fordham Urban Law Journal) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:
Tenants named in an eviction proceeding, no matter the outcome or the context, find themselves placed on registries collected and maintained by private "tenant reporting services." Tenants whose names appear on these so-called "blacklists" are often denied future renting opportunities, stigmatized and excluded from thepromise of fair housing. At a time of continued rollbacks and dramatic cuts to housing voucher programs andaffordable housing options, a candidate named on a dreaded blacklist can find herself on a quick path tohomelessness. That tenant blacklisting has been allowed to persist is emblematic of how powerless many tenants - and particularly public housing tenants - have become. This paper endeavors to give voice to some of the stories of tenants affected by the practice. It then sets forth an agenda for reform.
Our State's courts have become inundated with eviction actions, as tenants struggle to make ends meet. In Newark alone, tenant evictions affect 30,000 residents annually, destabilizing families and neighborhoods, targeting the most vulnerable and compounding the crisis in homelessness.
. . .
Against that bleak landscape, I applaud Newark Mayor Ras Baraka's commitment to bring to fruition a right to counsel for Newark tenants most at risk of eviction - the disabled, the elderly, and those with incomes no more than two times the federal poverty level. The city's initiative will give voice to tenants otherwise silenced by a system that too often is stacked against them. It is a major step on behalf of fundamental fairness and equal access to justice and should serve as a model for State-wide implementation.