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Legal Aid Acts Fast to Defeat Eviction Action, Tenant Overjoyed

By Chinh Le & Mike Mazella

Ms. Moore (name changed to maintain client confidentiality) came to Legal Aid’s office in Anacostia (the one with the Big Chair in front) for help with her eviction case. Her landlord had sued to evict her for nonpayment of rent. The Legal Aid attorney staffing the Big Chair office met with Ms. Moore that day and was able to refer her to a Legal Aid attorney at our courthouse office for further assistance with her housing issue.

When Ms. Moore came to the courthouse office, her case was scheduled for a bench trial that same day. Her situation looked bleak. However, Ms. Moore credibly disputed the rent amount that the landlord was charging her. Indeed, the Legal Aid lawyer was able to determine that the landlord had unlawfully increased her rent by 30% during the initial lease term. A Legal Aid lawyer helped Ms. Moore stay in her home and avoid eviction.

The attorney negotiated an agreement that reduced the balance by almost 90%, reduced Ms. Moore’s monthly rent to the correct amount going forward, and required the landlord to complete all outstanding repairs to the apartment. Ms. Moore and her attorney were able to navigate the situation together, allowing Ms. Moore to live comfortably in her home.