Eviction Spotlight: Fighting eviction and reversing hundreds of dollars in unauthorized charges

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Madolyn* is a single woman in her 50s who lives alone in her apartment. Although its cost is very low, she pays 50% of her income to rent. Recently, Madolyn experienced financial trouble and got assistance from a local government agency to catch up with rent. But her landlord filed to evict her for a balance of just over $100 on her account.

She called the Eviction Legal Helpline for assistance. Luckily, Madolyn had time before her first court date to fax helpful documents to the Helpline, including her lease and a copy of her tenant ledger showing charges and payments to her account. Helpline staff noticed some questionable charges on her account stretching back well over a year. We were able to identify hundreds of dollars in unauthorized charges—‘attorney fees’ for preparing simple notices and inflated charges for writs of eviction.  Her case was referred to a local legal aid lawyer for representation. The landlord’s attorney dropped the Unlawful Detainer against Madolyn at the first court date, and her legal aid attorney is ensuring that the unauthorized charges are reversed on her account.

*Name has been changed to protect the client’s identity.

At VPLC, we witness many landlords taking advantage of low-income Virginians through our Eviction Legal Helpline. The Eviction Spotlight series seeks to shed light on these stories. VPLC and Virginia legal aid programs are working for stronger legal protections and better enforcement of the law that will benefit all Virginians. If you have questions or concerns around evictions in Virginia, call our Eviction Legal Helpline at 1-833-NoEvict.

Evictions are at crisis levels in Virginia. Advice from a lawyer can make all the difference for a tenant facing eviction. VPLC’s Eviction Legal Helpline is having an impact but needs help to serve more Virginians. Learn about volunteering with us.

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