Mr. M contacted Community Legal Services' Housing Hotline, frantic that he and his four children would be homeless. Only a month earlier, he paid his first and last month's rent along with a security deposit to a woman claiming to be the owner of the home he and his family were now living in. As it turned out, she had lost the property at a sheriff sale months prior to this transaction. On top of that, Mr. M was served with an eviction complaint, filed by the actual owner against a different tenant "and all occupants." Even though he had no idea who the named defendants were, he stood to be evicted as a result of this complaint against them.
CLS Paralegal Heather Hulit took on his case and after some investigating learned that the named defendants were previous tenants, brought in by the current owner, who left before their lease term was up. The owner filed the eviction complaint against those tenants in an effort to remove Mr. M, with whom he had no landlord-tenant relationship. "The owner was trying to take the quick route to evict our client," Ms. Hulit explained, "and without our intervention, he would have succeeded." CLS took action and the owner agreed to drop the eviction complaint and make an affordable lease with the client, finally providing Mr. M and his family with the secure housing situation that they deserve.