Housing Law Unit
Legal Aid provides a wide range of services designed to assist eligible clients with housing legal issues. These services include, but are not limited to:
- Defending unlawful eviction
- Foreclosure defense
- Assisting Tenants concerning improper actions by Landlords (failure to return security deposit, unlawful shut-off of utilities, retention of personal property)
- Section 8 housing
- Mobile home tenancy issues
- Unsafe and uninhabitable living conditions
- Housing discrimination
- Special accommodations for those with disabilities
- Senior housing issues (assisted living, nursing homes, eligibility and safety)
Scope of Services
The Housing Law Unit run by Legal Aid Service of Collier County provides much needed aid to people in Collier County facing eviction, foreclosure, and other housing issues. By providing several legal solutions and alternatives to foreclosure or eviction, the Housing Law Unit can help people navigate difficult and seemingly hopeless situations. Attorneys with the Housing Law Unit work with clients to reach alternatives like short sales, loan modifications, deed in lieu agreements, and Cash for Keys agreements.
One of the ways the attorney will help the client is by trying to reach an agreement with their bank or other lien holder through a loan modification or a Cash for Keys program. In a loan modification, the original terms of the loan are changed. This change could be a change to the payment size, the interest rate, the term or other aspects of the loan. Several conditions, such as a documented decrease in income, must be met for the lender to give a loan modification. In a Cash for Keys program, the bank gives the tenant a cash settlement in exchange for the tenant vacating and leaving the home in good condition i.e. not vandalizing the home or stripping it of fixtures.
Our attorneys also will help to educate homeowners about the foreclosure process. By offering free information clinics, our attorneys can answer any questions that homeowners might have and explain to them their alternatives to foreclosure. The information and answers found in these clinics empower homeowners to make their own decisions and to be more aware of the nature of foreclosure proceedings they might find themselves in.
Our attorneys can also help clients in danger of losing their home negotiate with their bank in mediation sessions. Our attorneys can ensure that clients receive the best deal possible and can negotiate for more time for homeowners to reach a feasible solution for all parties.
Another way that our attorneys can help clients is by identifying fraudulent documentation and fighting illegal foreclosure practices that banks employ. These practices can range from illegitimately reopening a dismissed foreclosure case to continuing with foreclosure proceedings despite the homeowner submitting a completed loan modification application. Regardless of the action, our attorneys will spot it and help defend clients who are unable to defend themselves.
The goal of Legal Aid’s Housing Law Unit is to ensure that impoverished homeowners of Collier County can receive the legal services they need to avoid eviction or foreclosure and be able to keep their home.
Anyone seeking assistance from the Housing Law Unit should contact Legal Aid at (239) 775-4555 to start the intake process.