Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 23

don't understand that there are other options available to them," Lee
explains. "A CJP enters a judgment against the tenant upon its execution,
and the execution of that judgment is put on hold for the tenant to
comply with a payment plan, which is often impossible. Once the tenant
fails to comply with the CJP, the eviction process can move forward, even
if the landlord failed to comply with any provision requiring him or her to
make repairs to the unit."
In a July hearing, Magistrate Judge Adrienne Jennings Noti took care to
repeatedly ask an unrepresented tenant, an elderly man who was caring
for his physically disabled wife, if he understood the ramifications of
an agreement he had signed. For those in court that day, it's hard to say
which was more heartbreaking - his obvious confusion and lack of
understanding of the agreement or that he was willing to sign anything
to resolve his day in court. Magistrate Judge Noti recommended that he
meet with a pro bono attorney before they could continue.

ONE TENANT'S CASE
For others, not knowing the next steps is enough to trigger feelings of
anxiety, confusion, and desperation. That's precisely how 29-year-old
Southeast D.C. resident Deandre Johnson felt when he received a text
message from his landlord in June informing him that he was getting
evicted. Johnson lost one of his jobs at the end of 2018, and he quickly
fell behind on his rent. By May 2019, he owed his landlord more than
$7,000 in unpaid rent.
Johnson was confused about the impending eviction because he had
paid the overdue rent with assistance from the Housing Counseling
Services (HCS), a nonprofit that works to prevent homelessness and
increase sustainable housing opportunities for individuals and families
in the District. As it turned out, HCS made those payments to Johnson's
landlord the day before the landlord filed a writ of restitution against
Johnson. The writ gave the U.S. Marshals Service permission to execute
Johnson's eviction on June 17.
Fortunately for Johnson, on the day of his eviction someone in the
courtroom pointed him to the Landlord Tenant Resource Center, where
he met Lee, the attorney of the day. "They said that I needed to speak
to counsel instead of trying to figure things out in court all by myself,"
Johnson recalls.
Lee quickly went to work on Johnson's behalf, preparing arguments
before 2 p.m. that day. She helped him submit an Application to Stay
Execution of Writ of Restitution after Johnson provided receipts confirming the HCS payments. That evidence led the court to quash the
writ of restitution, preventing Johnson's eviction.
"I love doing these types of cases because it's such an intense period. An
eviction is always imminent, and I'm trying to prevent it," Lee says. "It can
be the most rewarding part of my job, saying to a client that their eviction
has been cancelled."
Lee also filed a motion to compel the landlord to complete repairs at
Johnson's apartment, citing issues such as loose tiles on the bedroom
floor, window cracks in the living room, cockroach infestation, and a
broken front door. Back in March, Johnson, without legal representation,
signed a CJP agreeing to pay his landlord $4,736 for four months of back
rent. The CJP also stipulated that the landlord was obligated to make
any repairs noted by Johnson by April 16. The landlord failed to make
those repairs.

Landlord Tenant Resource Center 101
The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center's Landlord Tenant Resource
Center provides free legal information to unrepresented
tenants and small landlords involved in housing disputes,
including evictions and housing code violations, in
Washington, D.C.
Volunteer attorneys from 19 local law firms:

Help unrepresented residents understand court
* proceedings
and prepare pleadings;
Coach unrepresented persons on how to present
* cases
in court;
Provide information on how to obtain continuances
* and
retain counsel;
Make referrals to the Pro Bono Center's full-representation
* Advocacy
& Justice Clinic or another legal services
provider in appropriate cases; and

Inform low-income litigants of, and refer them to,
* resources
for financial and other available social services.
The Attorney of the Day Program, operating out of the
Landlord Tenant Resource Center, is staffed by two Pro Bono
Center housing lawyers who provide same-day representation
to income-eligible tenants facing eviction. Attorney of the
Day Program clients benefit from having an attorney speak
for them in court, represent them in negotiations with
landlords, and provide legal advice on how to address their
legal situations. Most tenants are referred for representation
the same day that they arrive at the resource center, but
at times the attorneys of the day also provide short-term
representation to clients who are waiting for placement
through the Advocacy & Justice Clinic.

Around this time, Johnson not only was struggling to make ends
meet but also feared losing his job. "In the midst of my court dates,
I was starting a new job," Johnson recalls. "Trying to start a new job
and going back and forth to the court to make sure I had a home
was stressful, especially when I had to ask to take days off just four
days after starting."
Lee's legal assistance ultimately helped him avoid eviction. In early
August, Johnson reported that the D.C. Department of Consumer and
Regulatory Affairs inspected his apartment and that the landlord had
made some repairs. However, some floor tiles are still missing, and the
apartment still has cockroaches.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER 23



Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Going Above and Beyond feature
On Safer Ground feature
Casa Ruby Profile
Pro Bono Effect
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Going Above and Beyond feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - On Safer Ground feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 22
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Casa Ruby Profile
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 28
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 30
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 33
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 34
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 36
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 38
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 46
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover4
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June/July2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/March2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/November2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/july2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/february2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2016/
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2016
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com