Renters and landlords across the nation ready for court over pandemic evictions

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FILE – In this May 20, 2020 file photo, signs that read “No Job No Rent” hang from the windows of an apartment building in Northwest Washington. Renters are nearing the end of their financial rope as the assistance and protections given to them during the pandemic run their course. About 30% of renters polled by the U.S. Census say they have no confidence or slight confidence in their ability to pay rent next month. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – As the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic stretch into 2021, millions of U.S. renters are bracing for the possibility of having to show up in housing court to avoid getting evicted.

But unlike their landlords, only a small fraction of them will do so flanked by an attorney.

Fewer than 10 cities and counties nationwide guarantee tenants the right to a lawyer in housing-related disputes.

For people struggling to make ends meet, an attorney is beyond their means.

This month, Baltimore joined the list of cities that grant tenants a right to an attorney in eviction cases. Housing experts expect other cities to follow.

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