Philadelphia’s Right to Counsel law guarantees free legal representation to eligible low-income renters. Eligible renters have a Right to Counsel when they face:
- Eviction proceedings.
- Lease or other tenancy termination proceedings.
- PHA housing subsidy termination proceedings.
Under these circumstances, Right to Counsel is available for:
- Judicial proceedings, such as those in Municipal Court.
- Administrative proceedings, such as those held by the Fair Housing Commission.
To qualify for Right to Counsel, you must:
- have an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level; and
- live in a ZIP code that is covered by Right to Counsel.
Currently, the eligible ZIP codes are 19139 and 19121.
Your immigration status will not affect your eligibility.
Right to Counsel provides free access to a lawyer. There is no cost for exercising this right.
The hotline is staffed by Tenant Union Representative Network. Interpretation services are available.
If you don’t have access to a phone, you can visit Community Legal Services (CLS) to be screened for services. They’re located at:
1424 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
The CLS walk-in hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
You’ll need to provide some information to help the staff determine whether you’re eligible for Right to Counsel. This might include your household income, ZIP code, and other details.
You may also be asked to provide documentation like a hearing notice or a notice of housing subsidy termination.
If you’re eligible for Right to Counsel, the staff will refer you to a legal service provider. The provider will ask you for more information so that they can support your case.
- Community Legal Services
- Legal Clinic for the Disabled
- SeniorLAW Center
If you’re not eligible for Right to Counsel, the staff will still try to connect you with other services or advice.
Resources for residents
- Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project assists tenants facing eviction through legal representation, financial counseling, a live hotline, a court help center, community trainings, and educational materials.
- The City’s Division of Housing and Community Development supports programs to help residents stay in their home.
- The City’s Eviction Diversion Program helps landlords and tenants arrive at an agreement that works for both parties without having to go to court.