Getting Legal Help

Produced by Gary Allen
Created May 2017

You have the right to represent yourself in court. This is called pro se (pronounced pro say”), meaning "on one's own behalf."

If you can find a lawyer to represent you, you are almost always in a better position to use the courts. See Find Legal Aid for a list of lawyer referral services and legal services offices, who represent low-income tenants. You may also want to ask a tenants' rights organization or people you know for names of lawyers who represent tenants.

If your landlord has violated certain laws, and you win your case, the court should order the landlord to pay your attorney’s fees. In these situations, private lawyers may take a tenant’s case even when the tenant can’t pay in advance. For example, the following types of legal claims provide for attorney's fees if you win your case:

  • Retaliation
  • Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices
  • Violating the security deposit law
  • Interference with your use of the apartment, called “breach of quiet enjoyment.”

See Chapter 13: When to Take Your Landlord to Court for descriptions of these claims.

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Ask a Law Librarian

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