Minor Defendants: Kids Are Being Named in Evictions

Absurd as it may sound, minor children are sometimes named in eviction filings. If a child’s name makes in onto official court records—especially if those records are public and online—the damage can be irreversible.

2 minute read

November 17, 2021, 10:00 AM PST

By LM_Ortiz


Weathered stone slabs with the words Juvenile Court Entrance engraved into it.

Richard Oldroyd / Shutterstock

*Linda’s children were too young to write their own names when they were entered as defendants into a New York state housing court computer. Both kids, now 3 and 7, are identified as legal parties in a pending eviction case against their mother.

Absurd as that may sound, it’s not a fluke. Minor children are sometimes named in eviction filings. When it happens, the damage is acute and difficult to repair even if it’s caught quickly. If a child’s name makes in onto official court records, especially if those records are public and online, the damage can be irreversible.

Almost a year ago, Linda’s landlord banged on her apartment door and quizzed her then-6-year-old, asking the child to spell both kids’ names. The landlord showed up unannounced while Linda was in the bathroom, and her older child opened the door before Linda could intervene.

“I was so upset and disturbed and angry,” she says. “This is an adult situation, why are the children involved? When I spoke with the landlord, he said his lawyer told him that to evict everyone from the premises, everyone’s name should be listed on the eviction notice.”

Attorneys familiar with the issue say kids are sometimes named in evictions to intentionally harass or intimidate tenants, though usually the landlords (or their attorneys) misunderstand the laws and/or have little regard for the long-term consequences evictions inflict on children and families.

In New York, children are being named in eviction fillings more often recently as an unintended consequence of the state’s Housing Security and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. A provision in the law uses language that can be misinterpreted to mean ...

Thursday, November 11, 2021 in Shelterforce Magazine

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

7 hours ago - The Architect's Newspaper

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

7 hours ago - The Architect's Newspaper

Close-up of back windshield of Waymo autonomous car.

NHTSA Launches Investigations Into Two More Self-Driving Automakers

The federal agency is responding to reports of crashes and erratic behavior from Waymo and Zoox vehicles.

May 21 - Smart Cities Dive

Texas Townhomes

Austin Reduces Minimum Lot Size

Smaller lot sizes for single-family homes can make construction more affordable and homeownership available to more households.

May 21 - The Texas Tribune

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.