Evictions are not criminal cases where the defendant can be sent to jail, so, in general, the tenant does not have the right to a court-appointed attorney. Except, tenants who qualify for the new Right to Counsel – Cleveland (RTC-C) program do have the right to a lawyer.
Cleveland City Council passed an ordinance saying that some tenants in Cleveland have the right to be represented by an attorney in their eviction case. Tenants who have at least one child, and income at or below the federal poverty guidelines qualify. If you received eviction papers from Cleveland Municipal Court and believe you qualify for RTC-C program, visit FreeEvictionHelp.org for more information.
Landlords and tenants may hire a private lawyer to represent them. Some tenants who are low income, but do not qualify for RTC-C, may qualify to be represented by a lawyer through the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, Legal Aid offices are closed to the public. Tenants can apply by calling 1-888-817-3777 during most business hours or online anytime at https://lasclev.org/contact/.