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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Months of negotiations and work paid off for the supporters of a new tenants’ rights bill.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas signed the ordinance into city law Monday morning, less than two weeks after the city council approved it. The ordinance guarantees renters the right to legal representation for people facing eviction by their landlord. It will be fully implemented by June 2022.

“Today we heard from those who have been directly impacted by eviction proceedings. Having heard these stories over the past months, the answer was clear. We have to provide housing stability and impose equity in an imbalanced system. Housing is a basic human right, and society demands we protect it,” Councilwoman Andrea Bough, the ordinance’s lead sponsor, said.

KC Tenants said Kansas City is the first city in the Midwest to establish a policy like this one that doesn’t have income restrictions.

“I think about stories in my life, when we were dealing with evictions. The thing that got me the most… was the pain I could see in my mother’s face. When she needed help, there was no institution in Kansas City to help. The scales were terribly imbalanced, and they have been for years,” Mayor Quinton Lucas, said. “This policy makes that right. This gives people an opportunity to stay in their homes. This is a big holiday gift, and I hope that we keep working.” 

The next step is for the city manager to work to identify ways to fully fund the program.

To view the full summary of the ordinance, click here.