“I was scared, that’s why I reached out to Legal Aid,” said Dennis, a senior facing the daunting prospect of eviction with a mere 45 days to relocate.
He had mobility issues and lived alone in a one-bedroom apartment. His only source of income was from social security benefits.
The Landlord wanted to get the property back. According to law, he is allowed to evict a tenant as long as the tenant is on a month-to-month rental agreement and is given 45 days to relocate. In addition, the landlord wanted Dennis to pay a half-month’s worth of back rent, damages to the unit and cleaning fees.
Frustrated and confused, Dennis connected with Legal Aid for assistance in January 2023. He needed more time to vacate the property.
Legal Aid Staff Attorney Casey Shoji and Paralegal Pua Marquez from the Housing Unit worked as a team, intervening and skillfully mediating with the landlord’s attorney to extend the eviction timeline.
“The notice to vacate posed several issues because Dennis had limited income and mobility,” said Pua. “It was difficult for him to move out in such a short time. He was scrambling for help.”
“His future was unclear, he didn’t know where he was going, he didn’t know how to move himself,” added Casey. “He told me he couldn’t lift things, too. That’s why he was scared. Dennis didn’t know what was going on and what was going to happen to him.”
A two-month extension was granted, plus a few more days, as negotiated by Casey. During this time, Dennis’ case worker secured a place for him in the McCully area. Movers came one weekend and transported as much as they could in the new apartment.
Casey also successfully negotiated with the landlord’s attorney to dismiss the back rent, and cleaning, damage and attorney fees. They agreed. The case was dismissed!
“Good thing we have resources to help Dennis. That is the key,” said Casey. “Dennis was really happy; he was really grateful. It was like a weight was lifted off of his shoulders. I remember I went to get something signed by him. He looked like he was living comfortably in his new place. He looked pretty good and comfortable in his unit, chilling out with his friends.”
“The help Dennis received from Legal Aid was definitely above and beyond,” Pua added. “Evictions can be challenging for our clients, but we genuinely care. We cared for his situation and that helped him calm down a lot. I was happy with how things ended for him.”
“Legal Aid helped with my eviction case,” said Dennis. “Thank God for Legal Aid. They were a big help.”