Scholars have long suspected that tenants were skeptical of housing court, but prior studies—relying principally on surveys— have not borne that out. This qualitative empirical study draws from in-depth interviews and finds, in contrast to these previous studies, that tenants find the housing court process anything but fair, and describe a startling disconnect between their reasons for court attendance and their experiences of the hearings. Such negative justice perceptions may affect participation in housing court, compliance with judgments, and overall confidence in the judicial process. This Article suggests several legal and policy reforms to better align the housing court experience and tenant attendance goals, including more readable and empathetic court documents, amendments to rules of procedure for housing courts, and structural changes to the eviction hearing.

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