A newly opened legal center in Montgomery County, Maryland, is offering free legal advice to people who may find it difficult to navigate the court system.
One woman who did not want to be identified told News4 she sought help from the new legal center at the Montgomery County District Court in Rockville because of bugs, mice and poor living conditions at her apartment.
"I’ve never had these kinds of issues before. This is something that was very awful, like, a nightmare," she said.
She said her landlord refused to do anything and she didn’t know what her legal options were.
"I think that other people, they’re very afraid of going after landlords because they don’t know what’s going to happen," she said.
Anyone can walk into the legal center and get free advice from lawyers.
"Us, as judges on a regular basis, we see people come into court and even though they’ve been given documents to appear in court, many of them still don’t know exactly what it is," District Court Judge Victor Del Pino said.
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The center is open to all Maryland residents. Lawyers can help with civil cases, such as landlord-tenant disputes, small and large claims, car repossession, consumer debt, protective orders and expungement.
"It’s important for us to make sure that everyone understands that they have access. That they have the ability to come before the court and ask questions," Del Pino said.
The woman in a legal dispute with her landlord said she had to stay in a hotel and is getting help from the attorneys at the center.
"It’s good to know about these kind of places because we can tell the community. I think that everyone should be able to receive this type of service," she said.
There are several other legal help centers throughout Maryland.