Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Apr 23

2014

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Legal Aid will honor Barbara McDowell with Servant of Justice Award on April 29th

Next Tuesday, April 29, Legal Aid will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary Servant of Justice Awards Dinner. That evening, we will bestow Legal Aid’s highest honor – the Servant of Justice Award – on Barbara McDowell (posthumously) and Don Salzman. Today’s post will focus on Barbara. Her award will be presented by Barbara’s law school roommate, Professor Sarah Barringer Gordon of the University of Pennsylvania. Read more →

Apr 17

2014

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New and Improved System for D.C. Residents Facing Foreclosure

“Come to court, no matter what.” That is the overall message now being communicated to struggling homeowners via a new court notice accompanying all complaints to foreclose in the District. Effective immediately, homeowners who have been sued for foreclosure in D.C. Superior Court will be able to come to their first court date and request early mediation to try to resolve their case through a loan workout or other agreement, even if they have not yet filed an answer to the complaint.

This improved system is the result of a collaborative effort by Legal Aid, along with other advocates, and the Court to address the growing number of judicial foreclosure cases filed in the District. Outreach to homeowners and early, court-sponsored mediation at the outset of every case are only some of the components of a larger set of new foreclosure procedures that provide important protections for homeowners. Read more →

Apr 16

2014

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Social Security Halts Practice of Garnishing Tax Returns to Recover Parents’ Overpayments

On Monday, the Social Security Administration announced that it will no longer intercept tax returns to recover overpayments that are more than 10 years old. The decision was made following an article that was published last week in the Washington Post reporting that the Social Security Administration was garnishing individuals’ tax returns to recover alleged overpayments, in many instances belonging not to the individuals, but their parents.
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Apr 11

2014

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Legal Aid Testifies on Rent Increase Bill

Today, I testified before the D.C. Council in support of Bill 20-311, the Rent Control Hardship Petition Limitation Amendment Act of 2013. The legislation, if passed, would limit landlords’ ability to displace tenants based on the filing of a “hardship petition.” Read more →

Apr 01

2014

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Miller & Chevalier Saves Family Home From Tax Sale Foreclosure

When Ms. B first came to Legal Aid for help nearly two years ago, she was at risk of losing her family home where she and her sister reside. Ms. B and her sister, who is disabled, inherited the home when their mother passed away a few years earlier. Ms. B’s parents had bought the home in the late 1950s. The mortgage was paid off decades ago, and Ms. B continued to pay the real property taxes owed each year.

However, because the deed to the home was never properly transferred from Ms. B’s parents to Ms. B., the D. C. Office of Tax Revenue (OTR) determined after an audit that the “homeowner” (technically Ms. B’s mother) was no longer living in the home. That triggered a new tax assessment when OTR retroactively stopped applying the homestead deduction to the yearly tax bill, and applied penalties and interest with respect to the increased amount of taxes. Read more →