Tenants Advocates & Association
Retired lawyer offers free aid to tenants
Jensen - Nov. 14, 2008 07:11 AM The Arizona Republic
Friedman, 75, said most tenants facing eviction or legal conflicts with landlords have no representation when they go up against the property managers' lawyers. They nearly always lose. He and four other volunteer lawyers from Phoenix-based Community Legal Services give several days a month at San Marcos Justice Court where Justice of the Peace Keith Frankel allows unrepresented tenants facing eviction to seek last-minute legal advice.
a Chandler resident, also hosts public information sessions with city
neighborhood services officials.
"I'm hoping that others who come here to retire like I did will get antsy and wonder what to do with their time," he said. "I'm getting a lot of satisfaction from helping people."
Contributions can be just an hour or two a week, and Friedman is seeking other justices of the peace willing to host volunteer lawyers on days when landlord-tenant cases are heard. Evictions make up a large portion of justice court caseloads.
In a recent
Chandler case involving a disabled military veteran facing eviction, Friedman
said the vet couldn't pay his rent on time because he hadn't received
anticipated government disability checks. Late fees and court charges
nearly doubled what the veteran owed his landlord. Minutes before the
case went to Frankel, Friedman negotiated an agreement with the landlord's
lawyer that waived the extra fees and stopped the eviction so long as
the veteran paid his rent when the checks arrived. A judge couldn't legally
do that, Friedman said.
The advocacy group is inundated with requests for help, especially now when foreclosures on property owners who fail to make mortgage payments are forcing out tenants who are good renters and pay their rents on time, Volk said. "Having two voices in court system would go a long way toward leveling out that slanted view" that favors landlords, he said.
he was unaware of Friedman's work in Chandler and wants to talk to him
about the expansion plans.
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