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Free Lawyers for Tenants (Universal Access to Legal Services)

Under the law, some tenants in New York City, no matter their zip code or immigration status, can get a free lawyer from start to finish in their New York City Housing Court case. This depends on 2 things:

  1. Your income and how many people live with you
  2. The type of court case

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Income Eligible

Whether you get a free lawyer depends on your income and how many people live with you. You can get a free lawyer if your yearly household income is less than the amount in the chart below.

# of People in Your Home Household Yearly Income
1 $29,160
2 $39,440
3 $49,720
4 $60,000
5 $70,280
6 $80,560
7 $90,840
8 $101,120
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $10,280 for each additional person.

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Type of Court Case

Tenants with Holdover cases and Nonpayment cases get a free lawyer. Your court papers say the type of case. A nonpayment case is what an owner starts to collect rent. A holdover case is what an owner starts to evict a tenant for a different reason than nonpayment of rent. Learn more about Holdover and Nonpayment cases.

If you have a termination of tenancy case against you brought by the New York Housing Authority (NYCHA), you are also eligible to get a free lawyer for your case.

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Where to Get More Information

If you qualify for a free lawyer, visit About the Universal Access to Legal Services Law to find out how to get a free lawyer and what services you can get.

If you don’t qualify but want information about other ways to get legal help, visit Finding Legal Assistance.

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