Does ULS' work create any lasting change?
Yes it does! ULS is a service organization, helping thousands of individuals each year get the protection they need, keeping a roof over a families heads, helping persons with disabilities get the support they can’t live without, and more. But ULS also brings about lasting change, often through impact cases that affect the rights of a great number of people.
ULS has provided legal help to large numbers of Utahns by:
...expanding the protection provided to victims of domestic violence by establishing evidence of past violence coupled with a present threat is sufficient to show the need for a protective order. Previously, judges had required evidence of recent abusive behavior by the perpetrator before granting injunctive relief, a kind of "open wound" requirement.
...convincing the Utah Supreme Court to establish a warranty of habitability in favor of renters so that dangerous living conditions can be repaired, even when the landlord refuses. With proper notice to landlords, tenants now have the right to withhold rent and use the money to repair unsafe or unhealthy conditions. ULS advocates worked for many years to achieve this goal.
...challenging a landlord’s ability to charge termination fees beyond whatever actual damages the landlord assesses when a tenant breaks a lease. Prior to this lawsuit, landlords could penalize tenants in two ways if the tenant broke the lease. As a result of this case, if a landlord is deceptive or grossly unfair in charging extra fees renters may sue for attorney fees and damages.
...challenging Utah's guardianship law, which gave individual judges the power to decide whether a person could make a "responsible" decision about health care or lifestyle. Utah's old law did not require an examination of the proposed ward's ability to engage in a rational decision-making process, but only whether a judge thought the proposed ward's decisions were reasonable.
Other frequently asked questions about Utah Legal Services (ULS):
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