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Free legal help for renters facing eviction

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Posted at 11:58 AM, Feb 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-06 13:58:49-05

PHOENIX — Free legal assistance is available for renters in the City of Phoenix and Maricopa County who are facing imminent eviction.

Community Legal Services, a nonprofit which represents renters with low incomes has been contracted by the city and the county to provide legal assistance and if warranted, representation for residents.

"We have paralegals and attorneys, who can give them advice and negotiate with the other side," Bridge said.

But there are stipulations for each program.

City of Phoenix residents are eligible for legal assistance for "any type of eviction," Bridge told ABC15.

That includes non-payment and other alleged breaches of the lease.

However, Bridge said there is an income limit of 250% of the poverty line, which is $54,900 annually for a family of three.

For renters who live in Maricopa County, outside of Phoenix income does not matter. But Bridge says help is limited to one type of eviction.

"This program is for every single tenant who is facing eviction for non-payment of rent," Bridge said.

Bridge said even if a case is not found to have legal merit CLS can help streamline access to rental assistance and other programs. The most important thing is not to wait.

"In a very minimum, we can advise a tenant on what to do. And so, we always encourage people to call us as soon as you get the five-day notice," she said.

Eviction filings for the Phoenix metro area in January 2022 were the highest they have been in two years according to data released by Maricopa County Justice Courts.

5,213 eviction filings were submitted for January 2022. That is up from 4,403 the month prior.

Filings had not surpassed more than 5,000 in one month since February 2020 according to a Justice Court spokesman.

The programs are funded with federal COVID relief dollars.

Bridge is hoping to secure other funds to expand the program to every county.

"We are seeing this happen throughout the state, not just here in Phoenix and not just in the low-income communities," she said.

You can contact Community Legal Services at (602)385-8880.