Staff Writer Randy Billings of the Portland Press Herald wrote in the July 21 edition (Page A1) of the expected “wave of evictions” after the reopening of the courts Aug. 3 and the lifting of Gov. Mills’ moratorium on evictions Aug. 6.

The impact of the end of the protections against evictions of tenants will be substantial. Fortunately, there will have to be court hearings and judgments issued by neutral judges before people are actually put on the streets. For some, that is. The poor, who do not have attorneys, will not be able to successfully conduct court trials against seasoned attorneys for landlords. Nor can we expect the already-overburdened Legal Aid attorneys to challenge the entire “wave.”

What is needed is a new statute that states: If the landlord does not legally prevail in an eviction case they bring to court, the landlord should be required to pay the legal fees of the tenant. That way, at least, the poor may be able to find a lawyer who will accept the challenge of the case, win it and be paid legal fees.

Donald Fontaine


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