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Landlord – Tenant CLE
February 17, 2017 @ 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
The goal of this CLE is to teach attorneys who have limited experience in landlord/tenant work how to defend tenants. Essentially, we receive requests for help at Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services all the time but because of the short turnaround time for certain things like evictions, we often can’t help them in a timely manner. We’re hoping to start getting more private attorneys to accept a pro bono case at least once a year. If they knew more about the practice (i.e. necessary pleadings) then they may feel more empowered to help out. This area is a great area for pro bono work since it tends to be finite (and not drag out over the course of years like a custody battle can). The clients we get at Charleston Pro Bono would never be able to afford an attorney so most are going without representation.
The CLE will begin with an attorney giving a step-by-step instructional, along with sample pleadings, for how to defend tenants in common L/T situations. Specifically, we will cover the three main legal issues we see: (1) Eviction; (2) Repairs; and (3) Return of Security Deposits.
Sample questions to address include:
- What do I do when a client tells me they’ve been served with an eviction notice?
- How does the type of lease affect the landlord’s process for eviction?
- Tenant needs repairs but the landlord is non-responsive to requests, what next?
- When can a tenant get their security deposit (or any portion thereof) back after the lease?
We will also have an attorney cover the possibility of obtaining attorneys’ fees in such actions.
The next portion of the CLE will be presented by Chief Magistrate Ellen Steinberg who will give the judicial perspective. Sample questions she will address include:
- What arguments are effective/legitimate vs not?
- Examples of evidence that would be helpful to win a case?
- What are common pitfalls for both attorneys and clients?
- What’s the best way to prepare a client for an eviction hearing?
Following that, we will have representatives from the City of Charleston and Charleston County Housing Authority as well as the City of North Charleston Housing Authority to cover Section 8 and public housing issues. Sample questions include:
- How does public housing differ from private residential leases? Is there a difference between Section 8 and public housing?
- Should attorneys be contacting the property owners or the housing authorities?
- Are there certain “rules” that apply to public housing?
Finally, we want to have a section where legal aid attorneys/organizations can talk about the unique factors in representing indigent/low-income clients (i.e. they may be hard to reach because many only have so many minutes on their phone, scheduling appointments with their work schedule).
The ultimate hope is that the attorneys in attendance can leave feeling comfortable handling a landlord/tenant case.
Seminar has been approved for four hours of CLE credit.