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Big Housing Clinic Victory!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
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Julie, Darren and SarahIn September 2007, the UDC Clarke School of Law Housing Clinic filed a tenant petition on behalf of tenants whose apartment was overrun with rodents and bugs. Student Attorneys Julie Akemann, ‘09 and Darren Schultz, ‘09 represented the tenants at a three-day hearing in spring, 2008.

Administrative Law Judge Claudia Barber issued her decision in April 2010 that the landlord illegally raised the rent when the apartment was not in compliance with the Housing Code and ordered a refund of all amounts collected over the rolled back level, which she calculated as $1200. Additionally, the ALJ found that the landlord was not providing all of the services promised by the lease agreement for the time the infestations persisted and ordered an additional refund of $100 per month from the earliest date within the Statute of Limitations through the date of the hearing, a period of a little over 44 months. She trebled both these amounts because she found that the landlord acted in bad faith by not doing everything he could to abate the infestations. Our clients were, therefore, awarded $16,800, plus interest. Additionally, Judge Barber awarded the Housing Clinic almost $10,000 in legal fees, and imposed civil fines of $20,000 on the landlord.

The landlord appealed the decision to the Rental Housing Commission. Sarah Bardos, ’12, defended Judge Barber’s decision at oral arguments in October 2011. The RHC released its decision about a week ago on September 27, 2013, affirming all of Judge Barber’s findings and conclusions, and all of her orders. One of the commissioners dissented on the issue of the civil fines, believing that they were excessive; however, he agreed with the overall opinion that our clients were entitled to the rent rollback, the refund, the treble damage, and the award of attorneys’ fees.

So, another victory for the Housing Clinic!  Congrats! 

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