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Legal Clinic Obtains Judgment for Client

In early October, the Clinic for Legal Assistance to Servicemembers (CLAS) prevailed in a trial before the Chief Judge of the Fairfax District Court in a landlord-tenant case on behalf of its Army client, the tenant. After the client vacated the premises early under an oral agreement due to a water leak that called for mold remediation, the landlord refused to return the security deposit and sought payment for the balance of the lease, a late fee and alleged damages to the premises. Following presentation of testimony and documents by both parties, the court ruled that an oral agreement to terminate the lease early was valid despite a provision requiring 30 days written notice, while strictly construing the lease provisions that required the landlord to notify the tenant of an opportunity to inspect the premises and to provide a timely list of deductions from the security deposit, neither of which were given. The value of the judgment for the client was approximately $6,000.

Student Lisa Han and supervisor Mark Jenkins, of  McLean, Virginia, were counsel for the client. Professor Joseph Zengerle is the clinic's executive director.