Call Your House Rep: Pass Right to Counsel

Tenants shouldn’t have to go it alone. Delaware needs the right to counsel in eviction cases, because every renter deserves a fair shot at safe and stable housing. Call your House Representative and ask them to vote “yes” on SB 101!

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"Hi, my name is ______ and I'm a constituent of Rep. ______. I'm calling to ask Rep. ______ to support the right to counsel in eviction cases by voting YES on SB 101. Currently, only 2% of   tenants facing evictions in Delaware have representation in court, while 86% of landlords have some form of representation. SB 101 would level this imbalance and give more tenants a fair shot at safe and stable housing. It will also save our state money in a time when we’re actively trying to recover from the economic consequences of the pandemic. For every dollar invested in providing tenants the right to counsel, the state would save $2.67. Please support tenants in Delaware and vote YES on this critical legislation. Thank you for your time."

About Right to Counsel

In Delaware, 86% of landlords have representation from attorneys or agents in court, but only 2% of tenants have representation. 

On top of this, tenants have few options for legal aid programs, and legal aid programs have always been underfunded. Any defenses that are available to a tenant are virtually impossible to prove without the aid of a lawyer. 

About 33 percent of tenants feel so powerless to fight an eviction that they don't even show up for court, and instead, a default judgment is entered against them. This means they lose their housing even though there may be funding available to help with rent or they may have a valid defense against eviction. This is why representation in eviction cases matters: When tenants are represented by counsel, they are twice as likely to remain housed.

Securing tenants’ right to counsel is a critical step Delaware legislators can take to stop evictions and keep people in their homes during the pandemic and beyond. Right to counsel measures ensure that tenants who are facing the complex process of an eviction proceeding are guaranteed legal representation — giving tenants a fair chance to access legal protections and stay in their homes. 

Along with community and public health benefits, providing a right to counsel promotes substantial cost savings in Delaware. Conservative estimates found that for every dollar invested in a right to counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction in Delaware, the state would save at least $2.76.

Right to counsel is critical to fighting mass evictions, rebuilding our economy, and securing safe, stable housing for all Delawareans.

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