Pro-Bono Legal Resource for All Renters

“Hello Landlord” is a pro-bono legal resource for all renters

September 23, 2020 in Social Justice

A variety of federal, state, and even local eviction bans have been implemented during the pandemic to protect workers from the economic toll of shutdowns, but for low-income families without access to legal resources, exercising their rights as tenants can be difficult. Fortunately, Hello Landlord is here to help. 

Created by SixFifty, a subsidiary of a major law firm, Hello Landlord is a free online legal tool for tenants to inform them of their rights and access relevant paperwork to file with their landlord to avoid eviction. Kimball Dean Parker, CEO of SixFifty, told CityLab, “We don’t know how to sew masks or make ventilators. But we do have this unique ability to help with legal problems and to scale it with technology.”

To use the platform, renters simply respond to a series of questions about their living and income situation on the website and Hello Landlord generates a letter to their landlord detailing the client’s relevant eviction exemption status based on state and federal laws. The letter is supported by an affidavit confirming that the tenant is making no more than $99,000 in annual income and a promise to pay rent immediately when pandemic-related income restrictions are lifted.

Hello Landlord is part of a legal sector called “Lawtech,” with tools specifically aimed at supporting and defending individuals and small businesses. Since its launch on September 9, 200 people have used the online tool. SixFifty also offers its Hello Lender tool which helps homeowners defer their mortgage payments based on terms set out by the CARES Act. 

Evictions are disruptive to the health and wellness of families and eviction on your record can make it all the more difficult to be approved for other housing options. Furthermore, Michael Levy, an epidemiologist at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, created a model that estimates that an eviction rate of just 0.25 percent would lead to 1.5 percent more of the population contracting Covid-19 by the end of the year. 

Policies that protect renters’ rights are incredibly important for ensuring that citizens have access to fair and safe housing, but they are less effective if tenants have no means of exercising these policies. SixFifty’s pro-bono tools for renters empower tenants to actually enact their legal protections and, more importantly, feel safe and secure in their housing situation during these unprecedented times.