How do we get laymen to see a situation as one involving legal rights rather than just a “life event”?
That question was asked of the audience at a training on new legal rights created by the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights. That bill includes protections for tenants in properties foreclosed.
The presenters admitted that the biggest challenge in the new law was getting tenants to know that there was redress, or at least respite, in the law from immediate eviction .
Most unsophisticated tenants see their landlord’s foreclosure as just one of life’s unfortunate events, rather than an event that should send them to see a lawyer.
I saw it in my own practice yesterday when a well educated immigrant family came to see me, sent by friends to address an underwater junior mortgage.
This was after 3 years of paying $600/month in a debt management program to pay off most of their unsecured debt. And weeks after withdrawing money from retirement savings to get current on their mortgage. And still facing over $100,000 in student loan debt on deferment.
Damn, damn, damn! Had they seen the situation as one suggesting bankruptcy sooner, we could have preserved the retirement savings, and considered whether money over time was better spent retiring the student loans rather than the credit cards.
So, I put the question to you: how do we get the public to see events in their lives as legal triggers rather than unfortunate life events?
We can kick this around at the NACBA convention in San Diego at week’s end. Hope to see you there.
Image courtesy of Pixabay and Geralt.