Designing to Include Judges and Inner-City Tenants

Author/Creator ORCID



Type of Work



Citation of Original Publication

Summers K., Pointer A., Cotton M. (2018) Designing to Include Judges and Inner-City Tenants. In: Di Bucchianico G., Kercher P. (eds) Advances in Design for Inclusion. AHFE 2017. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 587. Springer, Cham



Between 2012 and 2015, an analysis of more than 300 rent escrow cases in the city of Baltimore revealed that neither judges nor plaintiffs in rent escrow cases understood or were correctly applying the relevant laws [1], [2]. Tenants didn’t understand the applicable laws or available remedies, and were unable to fill out their rent escrow applications accurately. Judges knew that the documents provided by tenants were probably filled out incorrectly, so they routinely ignored these documents. Thus, many rent escrow cases were decided based on established custom rather than on the facts of the case or relevant laws, and the results tended to favor landlords [1], [3]. A year of iterative de- sign, testing, and re-design resulted in a rent escrow form that could 1) help ten- ants understand their options and provide accurate information to the court, and 2) provide judges with accurate information while simultaneously reinforcing their understanding of the applicable laws.