On August 13, 2012, client sought legal assistance with obtaining re-entry to his rental home after the landlord locked him out of the property for non-payment of rent and refused to allow him access to the property to retrieve his belongings. The client was locked out after he went to work on August 4, 2012. When he returned home from work, he discovered that the landlord had changed the locks on the house, and that the landlord’s brother had taken possession of the property. Even though the client was two months behind on his rent, the landlord had not given him proper notice of the lockout and kept belongings that the client needed for work. The client is a construction worker and kept many of his tools at the property. After he contacted the landlord requesting to be allowed access to the property he received hostile messages from the landlord’s brother, and was told that he would not be allowed to get his belongings until after he removed a hot tub that he had installed in the yard and paid the past-due rent. The landlord originally agreed to allow him to access the property, but she changed her mind after becoming upset with him. The landlord then refused to accept the past-due payments or to allow the client to retrieve his belongings. The client sought legal assistance with retrieving his personal belongings, as well as compensation for having to purchase new clothing and remodeling tools for his job.
Pro bono attorney Sharon Campbell accepted the case for representation and began negotiations with the landlord. After being unable to reach an agreement, Ms. Campbell filed suit on December 7, 2012 in County Court at Law No. 5 requesting monetary compensation for the client’s property. Through mediation, Ms. Campbell was able to negotiate a lump-sum settlement for $22,000 from the landlord for unlawfully holding the client’s belongings. An agreed judgment was entered on October 8, 2014, after the settlement was paid. The client was extremely grateful to receive compensation for having to live in hotels for the remainder of his lease, and for having to purchase new tools, furniture, and clothing.
Landlord Tenant Recovery
“Tom” runs a small photography business and rented a house where he lived and ran his business. While he lived at the property, Tom needed the assistance of the landlord on various occasions, and requested help but never received any. The landlord told him to deal with the problems or handle them on his own. Tom did this throughout the lease.
When the lease was up, Tom delivered a 60-day notice letter to the landlord verifying his intention to move out of the property. Before moving out, Tom took great pains to clean the property thoroughly. He also trimmed all the bushes around the home, replaced a broken mailbox, Continue reading
Pro Bono Lawyer
Helps Couple Retain Property
Mr. & Mrs. Smith purchased their home in 1996 from Mrs. Brown, who died in 1999. The Smiths had a warranty deed for the property which was properly filed in the county records. They were thrilled to be homeowners, and they paid all taxes on the property and renovated it. The City approached the Smiths about purchasing their home because the City wanted to build the new police academy on their land. The City performed a title search and did not Continue reading
Pro Bono Attorney
Lucy entered a lease agreement to pay both rent and her electric bill to her landlord. Despite the fact that she was rarely at home, Lucy began receiving extremely large electric bills. She questioned the bills but continued to pay both her rent and electric bills in order to comply with her lease until the electric bill became so high that her landlord instructed her that she would not have to pay it until they could investigate the problem. Soon thereafter, her apartment was sold to another company and the management changed, and she received notice that she was overdue for her electric bills. Not only was the new company holding her responsible for the unpaid bill, but they were also requesting payment for bills that she had already paid.
Obtains Divorce and QDRO
A deaf client (the wife) on social security disability seeks assistance at a DVAP neighborhood clinic with a divorce that, at first blush, appears to be uncontested except for property issues. A DVAP volunteer attorney agrees to undertake representation despite the added complexity of having to line up volunteer sign language interpreters for communicating with both his client Continue reading
Takes Family Law Case to Trial
DVAP’s client had a child with the adverse party father. He abandoned the client and their child and showed no interest in the child for many years. Several years later, the adverse party gets a teenager pregnant. Both the father and the teenage mother are unable to care for the baby. DVAP’s client, the father, and the teen mom agreed that our client would raise Continue reading
Assists Client in DTPA Case
A client bought a vehicle from a used car dealer after being assured that a mechanic on staff had inspected the vehicle and that the engine was in good condition. He used his entire savings of $1,800 for the down payment. The seller assured him that it would be able to transport him to and from work. Only three weeks after he obtained the automobile, the engine threw a rod while the client was traveling to work. The seller agreed to replace the Continue reading
Grandmother Gains Legal Custody
of Children in her Care
A client came to the DVAP clinic asking for help obtaining custody of her two grandchildren for whom she was caring. She was retired and living solely off her monthly Social Security income. DVAP’s volunteer attorney established paternity, obtained custody of the grandchildren for her, and obtained child support from the parents. With legal custody and Continue reading
“Joan”, age 71, applied for legal assistance removing liens on her property. Joan had applied for a reverse mortgage to help pay her $600 monthly medication expenses. The title company investigated and found that there there were two unsatisfied liens with a major bank on her property. One of the liens was on her homestead property and another was on Continue reading
Elderly Client Crushed
By Credit Card Debt
“Donna,” a ninety-year old woman, applied via telephone for assistance with her bankruptcy. She was working part-time after seventy years as a hairdresser but her monthly income of $1,200 barely paid her bills. In order to provide for herself, she had gradually spent all her savings and sold all the assets left to her by her spouse. In an effort to meet her daily Continue reading