Oklahoma City University School of Law Launches Pro Bono Eviction Assistance Program

(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK) – According to Pew Research, more households are renting than at any point in the past fifty years. In Oklahoma County, a staggering number of 200 families face eviction every week. Many of these families have little to no knowledge of their rights as tenants and many do not have access to an attorney to help with the issue before reaching Oklahoma County’s Forcible Entry and Detainer docket. Oklahoma City University School of Law has received a generous grant from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation to create the Oklahoma City University School of Law Pro Bono Eviction Assistance Program to address this issue.

The Pro Bono Eviction Assistance Program, directed by Richard Klinge, was created to provide assistance to those facing eviction in Oklahoma County by informing them about their procedural and substantive rights. The program also hopes to detour them from facing the consequences of eviction.

Oklahoma City’s gross median rent climbed by 40.7% between 2005 and 2016, placing it 33rd nationally and higher than such cities as Dallas, Kansas City and St. Louis. As the cost of rent has risen, the number of evictions has soared. Providing free legal services to tenants facing eviction is proving effective to combat evictions. Researchers have found that many tenants are not able to navigate the court systems and complex laws involved in landlord/tenant disputes. They often fail to understand the defenses that can be raised against landlords who fail to follow the applicable laws.

Research has shown that two-thirds of people who faced eviction with legal representation were able to stay in their homes. For those lacking legal representation that number is one-third.

In Oklahoma County, the court holds eviction dockets four days per week. On average, there are between fifty and one hundred eviction cases on each of those dockets. Most of the tenants on those dockets do not have legal representation. If a person who has been served with a Summons for Eviction desires to have their case evaluated by a member of the legal assistance team, he or she should call (405)208-5207 to schedule an appointment.

ABOUT OKLAHOMA CITY UNIVERSITY’S SCHOOL OF LAW
Oklahoma City University School of Law is fully approved by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. It serves a diverse student body of approximately 400. Oklahoma City University School of Law’s nearly 6,000 alumni practice in every state and several foreign countries. For more information, visit law.okcu.edu

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