Housing and Consumer rights
EXAMPLES OF CASES WE HANDLE INCLUDE:
- Home ownership problems including foreclosure and predatory lending
- Public, subsidized, emergency and transitional housing
- Representation of private tenants in select landlord-tenant cases
- Information and referral for private tenants through the Renters Education and Advocacy Legal Lines
- Mobile home problems
- Help for organizations and individuals to create, preserve, and rehabilitate affordable housing
- Debt collection defense
- Garnishment Defense
- Used automobile cases
- Student loan discharge
The Affordable Housing Project was established to address the housing crisis in Miami-Dade County. The Project advocates for the preservation and development of affordable housing for low and very low income people residing in Miami-Dade County. The Project has two main components.
1. Preserve affordable housing complexes that are in danger of being lost due to:
- Uninhabitable conditions
- Landlords threatening conversion to condominium or sale to a private developer
- Expiration of subsidized federal funding
- Demolition or abandonment of publicly funded properties.
2. Increase development and production of additional housing units that are affordable to low and very low income residents of the target area through legal and policy advocacy.
The Community Economic Development Project provides free legal assistance to nonprofit community development corporations seeking to develop affordable housing and revitalize distressed neighborhoods, and has developed a long term, continuous relationship with its client organizations.
Many nonprofit organizations in Miami-Dade County are engaged in a variety of activities including housing development, business development and commercial revitalization. They need high quality legal assistance to increase their capacity to engage in sophisticated economic development ventures.
It is very difficult for these organizations to obtain adequate legal assistance because they cannot afford the cost. More importantly, very few private attorneys have the expertise to provide the specialized representation required by these organizations. The Project fills this gap.
This Project is funded in part by Funding In Memory of Frances and Louis M. Jepeway and Wells Fargo.
The Homeowner and Consumer Rights Project focuses on mortgage foreclosure defense, predatory lending and consumer issues that center on debt collection defense, improper garnishment and used automobile and student loan cases.
The project provides high-quality legal assistance and representation to homeowners faced with foreclosure. In addition to court representation and filing of Chapter 13 bankruptcies, the Project provides homeowners with alternatives to foreclosure. These alternatives include repayment plans, forbearance and loan modification. The Project also assists homeowners whose homes are at risk due to unfair practices by contractors and prevents the loss of homes due to tax lien, condo lien and homeowner association lien foreclosures, supporting the retention of assets by low income residents and preventing their downward spiral into homelessness.
We also file affirmative cases to get back title for elderly and vulnerable clients who are victims of deed fraud and foreclosure rescue scams. In these cases, the homeowner is defrauded out of title to their home by someone offering to save the home or by someone who forges the homeowner’s name on a deed. The homeowner does not know what happened until they receive an eviction lawsuit on a home they believe they own, or a foreclosure on a mortgage they never knew was on their home.
The project also helps low wage workers and families build economic security by protecting them from exploitive transactions that are barriers to economic self-sufficiency. The project protects people from unfair financial practices by representing consumers in debt collection defense cases, defending against improper garnishment of wages or bank accounts and representing in cases involving used automobiles with a focus on financing, unfair and deceptive sales practices, warranty and odometer law violations. The project also assists consumers with student loan collection problems with a focus on discharge of debt due to disability and closed schools.
This Project is funded in part by the State of Florida Office of the Attorney General and Miami-Dade County.
If your home is in foreclosure, please click here for valuable information.
Click here to view video on avoiding foreclosure rescue scams.
Countrywide borrowers to get settlement cash
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Foreclosure Rescue Scam Prevention The Federal Trade Commission produced the video “Real People, Real Stories” to help homeowners avoid foreclosure rescue scams. Click here to view video.
Legal Services Staff Attorney Kimberly Sanchez Featured on Channel 2 Special on Mortgage Foreclosures Click here to view the video.
Legal Services Senior Attorney Carolina Lombardi Featured on Channel 2 Discussing the Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis Click here to view the video.
The Tenants’ Rights Project provides representation to tenants facing eviction from rental housing. Priority is given to evictions involving tenants living in government subsidized housing.
This Project is funded in part by the University of Miami School of Law Tenants’ Rights Clinic.
Click here for a flier on Tenant Rights and Responsibilities Creole | Español
Click here for a flier on How to Prepare and File an Answer. Creole | Español
Click here for a flier on The House I am Renting is Being Foreclosed. Creole |Español
The Renters Education and Advocacy Legal Line provides telephone legal advice to tenants with private housing matters. The Project advises tenants on issues such as how to defend their eviction case, request return of their security deposit, and demand repairs of their rental property. The Project also provides tenants with self-help materials which assist them in resolving their problem.
Low-income renters often have their security deposits unlawfully withheld by landlords, which can result in financial harm to these renters. Legal Services, with the financial support of District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, will now be able to provide representation to low income tenants in District 8 to effectively obtain the return of their security deposits.”
Transgender tenants face extremely high rates of housing discrimination. In 2014, the Miami Dade County Civil Rights Ordinance was amended to ban housing discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. Legal Services is working to make the promise of this new law a reality by working to educate transgender individuals about their new legal rights and representing transgender tenants who are faced with housing discrimination.
This project is funded in part by the GLBT Community Projects Fund at the Miami Foundation and the National LGBTQ Task Force.