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Legal Counsel for the Elderly

Alternatives to Landlord/Tenant Court in Washington, D.C.

The Alternatives Project helps elderly tenants prevent eviction

Legal Counsel for the Elderly’s Alternatives to Landlord/Tenant Court for the Elderly Project (Alternatives Project) combines social work, legal and volunteer coordination to help prevent eviction of District elders.

Legal Assistance We Provide to Tenants and Tenant Associations

  • Contest illegal rent increases at the Office of Administrative Hearings
  • Obtain necessary repairs and rent abatements through demand letters and Superior Court actions
  • Defend of eviction actions in Landlord/Tenant Court.
  • Raise fair housing complaints for tenants who need reasonable accommodations for physical and/or mental disabilities
  • Represent tenants in administrative proceedings before D.C. Housing Authority to address repair issues, rent calculation or program termination issues
  • Help tenants access other LCE services, such as public benefits checkups and protective arrangements (wills, powers of attorney)
  • Outreach and Education to tenant groups and other community organizations
  • Policy advocacy to improve community responsiveness to elderly tenants, enhance affordable housing creation and preservation resources, and ensure accommodations for elderly tenants
  • Legal assistants who help elders recertify for subsidized housing, document housing code violations and obtain emergency rental assistance

Social Work and Volunteer Assistance

  • Assess social work needs of clients
  • Connect clients with necessary community services (bill payers, money managers, home health aides) and other LCE services such as public benefits checkups, wills and powers of attorney, and Elder Buddies (community volunteers to help clients declutter and clean their apartments)
  • Counsel clients who experience grief, loss and other mental health challenges to remaining housed

Examples of Senior Tenants We Have Helped

  • Secured a judgment of $17,700 in compensatory/punitive damages after suing a noncompliant housing provider for repairs and rent reduction.
  • Six high school freshmen volunteers and their history teacher worked with the Project’s Elder Buddies Coordinator to help a blind tenant clean his apartment. The coordinator then obtained his medical and prescription drug expenses, which reduced his rent by $25 a month.
  • Project investigators and attorney worked with a Spanish-speaking senior who was beset by severe housing code violations. The case involved emergency litigation to get the repairs done promptly, then an administrative suit for monetary relief. In settlement, the client received a rent refund and waiver totaling $9,000.

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