April 02, 2019

GIVING BACK: Helping Tenants Assert Their Rights

Ireneo A. Reus III

During the start of the Lenten Season, many people pick something to give up (whether it be special foods or favorite activities—such as social media). For me, Lent is a time that I give back and choose to do more to help others in my community. This year, I learned about a young couple with two young children from an underserved community that faced problems with their landlord, who had failed to make much-needed repairs to their rental home. The young couple could not afford to pay for an attorney. The landlord repeatedly ignored their requests to make the necessary repairs. Furthermore, this landlord lived adjacent to the rental home where the young family lived and also harassed the young family. To make matters worse, I also learned that this landlord had been convicted in criminal court of punching a pregnant woman who previously rented the same home. Thus, the constant threat of possible violence from the landlord/slumlord and the threats to the family’s safety from the damage in the premises compelled me to take action and accept this case on a pro bono basis.

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