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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jul. 28, 201412:00 PM EST

Client's letter details how Ask-a-Lawyer helped

by: Kathy Para

The outcomes of Ask-a-Lawyer events stabilize low-income families.

They provide roadmaps for resolution of legal issues and more volunteers are needed. The next Ask-A-Lawyer event will be 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Sept. 20, at Florida State College at Jacksonville Downtown Campus (details on how to volunteer are included below).

This letter illustrates how important this service can be to area families.

A husband and wife attended an Ask-A-Lawyer with a question about the terms of a lease addendum. They were counting on some additional time in their apartment at their current rent as agreed in their addendum.

When the property manager indicated that he would not honor the addendum, the couple sought advice at Ask-A-Lawyer.

The guidance they received from advising attorney, Dan Bean, was effective. The couple took the initiative Bean suggested and they accomplished their goal of having some much-needed extra time in their current location.

Read their account:

Good Morning Mr. Bean,

During a free legal aid ask-a-lawyer session on the North Side, we visited with you regarding a tenant-landlord issue. A synopsis of our situation was that we signed a 6 month lease with an addendum to renew for another six months at the same rate but our new property manager did not want to honor the contract terms.

The purpose of this email is to provide you with an update of our consultation. We decided to mail a letter to the local office and copied the corporate office indicating that this is our official notice that we are going to remain for the next 6 months at the same rate as agreed on in our contract.

A few days later, we received a call from the property manager indicating that they can extend the offer to us only 5 months. They offer us a new lease for the 5 months. We took the 5 months because after this time period we will no longer be staying at this complex and it will give us time to peruse other options like buying a house.

We wanted to thank you very much for your advice. After speaking with you, we stopped by the office to speak to the property manager, and he was not wavering. He was adamant that we have to pay the increase. I was very nervous and worried but I remember that you encouraged me to hold strong.

Keep up the good works and thanks for volunteering your services to the people of this community who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

Many times a problem can be resolved without representation if those involved understand their legal rights and how to preserve them.

Many times a person needs information, encouragement and empowerment. Such was the case for this particular couple.

They took the time to write a letter of thanks and their sentiment is true for dozens of people who take advantage of this valuable service.

Their story is representative of the dozens of people who receive hope, clarity, and direction at Ask-A-Lawyer events.

Sincere appreciation is extended to the many pro bono attorneys who serve our community with legal guidance at Ask-A-Lawyer events.

For information on Ask-A-Lawyer and to volunteer, contact Kathy Para, chair of The JBA Pro Bono Committee, [email protected].

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