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Legal Advice Makes a Difference to Tenants.

Date and time: 
December 17, 2010 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm


  • Craig Rolling, U of M Ph.D. Candidate, Statistics
  • Samuel Spaid, Housing Attorney, HOME Line
  • Mike Vraa, Managing Attorney & Hotline Director, HOME Line

HOME Line, a nonprofit tenant advocacy organization in Minnesota, operates a hotline that provides free legal advice to renters regarding their rights as tenants. Since 1992, HOME Line has advised, and kept records of, more than 125,000 renters across Minnesota, averaging more than 11,000 the last few years.

In an effort to estimate the benefits provided by this service, HOME Line made follow-up calls to approximately 3,000 hotline callers. HOME Line’s analysis extrapolated the benefits reported in this sample to their total number of calls. They looked in-depth at some of the benefits gained by tenants dealing with foreclosures, repairs, and security deposits, and considered the overall benefits to tenants with respect to money saved and evictions prevented.

The presenters shared their findings, which show that legal advice to tenants has helped to prevent thousands of evictions, increased the likelihood of repairs by nearly 40%, and saved tenants more than $10 million in the past 18 years. More than 97% of the callers are low income. The impacts of legal advice dramatically affects renters by stabilizing housing, creating better living environments, and preserving wealth for Minnesota’s low income tenants.

The PowerPoint presentation from this Housing Forum is available for download (PDF format):

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