Legal representation for tenants lags behind representation for landlords, a problem that drew a $12.3 million state investment in legal aid.
Community Legal Aid, which provides free civil legal services to low-income or elderly residents of Berkshire, Hampden, Franklin, Hampshire and Worcester counties, was one recipient of that money. The group brought on 30 temporary staff members, including attorneys who help with court appearances and paralegals who assist with rental assistance applications, said Managing Attorney Jennifer Dieringer.
“There’s always a much higher percentage of landlords being represented than tenants, but I do think this funding is going a long way,” Dieringer said….
…Of the more than 4,000 nonpayment eviction cases filed in Massachusetts since the state moratorium expired, about 150 have come in Berkshire County. The proportion of tenants with representation is not quite as low as the 0.9 percent suggested by the trial court report, Dieringer said. Legal representation was recorded for just 38 of 4,418 tenants in December eviction cases, according to the report. Read more in The Berkshire Eagle.