Landlord Tenant Clinic: Legal Theory and Practice

This LTP/clinic will give students the opportunity to represent clients in housing court in Baltimore City. It will give them exposure to the realities of a court system where parties are seldom represented by counsel, despite the often very significant interests on both sides. Thousands of tenants, including children, single parents, the elderly, and people suffering from chronic health problems are evicted every year in Baltimore City. Many become homeless. In the meantime, the housing stock continues to deteriorate, and buildings are abandoned.

Students will be asked to look critically at this system, and identify the problems that result from the current policies and practices. They will be asked to engage in problem solving and/or advocacy both with regard to individual cases and with regard to the impact of the system on the housing situation in the City of Baltimore.

This LTP/Clinic will provide students the experience of law practice, i.e., counseling a client, drafting a pleading, representing a client in court, etc. The seminar will address both law practice skills and the larger policy issues raised by current landlord tenant practice. Topics to be covered include: basics of residential landlord tenant law, requesting a rent escrow order where housing conditions pose a risk to the health and welfare of inhabitants, and historical as well as current perspectives on public and subsidized housing.

Student attorneys will participate in organizing a Roundtable discussion addressing housing reform ideas. Participants in the Roundtable will include tenant advocates, landlords, District Court judge(s), Baltimore City housing officials, social workers, medical providers and public benefit specialists. The Roundtable will discuss the impact of a legal system where most participants are unable to hire a lawyer or even obtain legal advice. It will raise questions about professional responsibility, and whether an adversary system can function effectively and ethically under these circumstances.

Students will identify a law reform issue and draft a seminar paper on this topic. This LTP/Clinic satisfies the Cardin requirement. With the advance permission of the instructor, a paper written for this class may be used to satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement.

This course is not currently scheduled.
Last offered Spring 2018.

Key to Codes in Course Descriptions
P: Prerequisite
C: Prerequisite or Concurrent Requirement
R: Recommended Prior or Concurrent Course