On November 30, 2017 Legal Aid began its Tenant Legal Help Clinic at the downtown Jackson County Courthouse. Housing attorneys Jane Worley and Maura Weber, with help from co-workers, are at the Courthouse every Thursday hosting the clinic.
At the clinic, attorneys meet with low-income residential tenants who are being evicted by their landlords. Attorneys provide tenants with information regarding their rights as tenants, evidence the tenant needs to keep their housing, and what the tenant can expect in the courtroom. Most tenants who appear for their hearing are unrepresented and unable to speak with an attorney, while almost every landlord has an attorney. Legal Aid is attempting to remedy that injustice.
The housing attorneys at Legal Aid drafted easy to use, fill in the blank documents for the clinic participants as many defenses to a rent case must be in writing. There is also a small claims petition for renters seeking security deposit return. If needed, Legal Aid attorneys can help clinic participants complete documents and explain how to file with the court.
The clinic provides Legal Aid with a unique opportunity to reach tenants in the Kansas City community and provide them with knowledge needed to fight for more housing security. There is tremendous need in Kansas City to reach people sooner and make the clinic bigger to assist more tenants. The Tenant Legal Help Clinic is the first step.