Office of Tenant Legal Services

Overview – Message from the Coordinator:

According to recent U.S. Census data, 28 percent of Newark’s residents are in poverty, more than 75 percent of Newark residents rent their homes, and the majority of Newark's tenants spend 35 percent or more of their monthly household income on rent.ii These statistics suggest there is fertile ground for displacement and gentrification through the process of eviction or the threat of same. For many tenants who are unaware of their rights, the landlord's mere threat of eviction is enough to scare these tenants into leaving their home even when they have no other place else to go and the landlord's attempt to evict is something they could successfully fight. This same lack of awareness causes many Newark tenants to reside in uninhabitable conditions that the landlord may have an obligation to repair.

As a means of addressing these and other housing issues and providing a legal resource for Newark tenants, on December 19, 2018, Newark's Municipal Council adopted Newark, New Jersey, Municipal Code Title 19, Chapter 3 (2018) (Ordinance), establishing the City of Newark’s Office of Tenant Legal Services (OTLS).

OTLS’s purpose is to provide free legal services to Newark tenants of low-income who are facing eviction or the threat of eviction. OTLS has been accomplishing this mission by providing direct services and by contracting with legal services entities with a background in defending tenants facing eviction.

In conclusion, addressing income inequality and affordable housing requires a comprehensive, holistic approach. The OTLS does not pretend to be a single solution. But we do hope to serve as a small step in a multi-step process of ensuring that all people – regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or citizenship status -- have access to justice and affordable, decent housing which, after all, is a human right!

- Khabirah H. Myers, Esq. – Coordinator of the OTLS

Services Provided

If you are facing eviction or the threat of eviction, a lawyer can:

  • Explain the nature of your case and provide you with confidential legal advice.
  • Represent you in court by communicating for you with judges, court staff, your landlord and/or your landlord’s lawyer(s).
  • Assist you in fighting for necessary repairs to your housing.
  • Help ensure that your rent is calculated correctly.
  • Assist you in demanding a grievance/administrative hearing from the NHA or rental-subsidy provider if either has threatened to terminate your tenancy or subsidy.
  • Represent you at the aforesaid grievance/administrative hearing.

Intake Process

The OTLS’s client-intake process occurs every weekday. Every OTLS applicant must be screened prior to receiving legal services from our office. If you wish to be assisted by the OTLS, then please complete our online intake form found here:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OTLS presently has no in-person office hours at City Hall. Our remote office hours begin at 8:30am, Monday through Friday. For general information about resources currently available for tenants, we encourage you to visit these websites:



For more information about the OTLS, please contact us at

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