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LAS Decries Tech Issues Impact on Tenants in Housing Court

The Legal Aid Society and tenant advocates across the country are calling out the inequalities that tech issues are bringing to bear on those who do not have the access to appropriate resources, which weakens their ability to fight for their right as courts continue to move proceedings online, making the process slower and more confusing.

Tenants who lack access to computers, cell phones, and reliable wi-fi internet face a daunting challenge interacting with virtual proceedings – unlike the landlords they face in court, who are flush with resources, as reported by Reuters.

“We have 40,000 tenant households who have not answered their proceedings, and not answering means they’re on track to have a default entered against them and proceed to a warrant,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-in-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “A lot of it has to do with difficulty accessing the courts at this time.”

New York courts have opened phone lines for those struggling to get online, but Goldiner said those are frequently overloaded. “[The] system has totally broken down in a way that could lead to massive evictions,” she said.