Welcome to the Graduate Student Legal Aid Office

Announcements | Ask the AttorneyOur Mission     .     Atttention Undergrads: Please visit the Undergraduate Student Legal Aid Office


We are still here to help!

GLAO has moved on-line with the same great menu of services.  Our office hours and listed to the right, and we continue to respond to phone calls and emails.  Legal, advocacy, and immigration appointments are held via phone, email, or Zoom because the health and safety of our campus community is our highest priority during the current crisis.  If you want to receive weekly e-mails about our services, workshops, and useful legal information please join our Google Group.  For campus-wide updates, please visit umd.edu/virusinfo or email healthconcerns@umd.edu if you have questions specific to UMD and coronavirus.  


Announcements

 

Fall 2020 Immigration Appointments now available!

Click here to request an appointment.
 

 

 

Registration for the GRadulting Workshop Series shown below is open!

Click here to register on TerpLink

If you don't already have an account on TerpLink, you will have to create one.

 


 

 


 


Ask the Attorney Q&A
 


Thank you for your question. We know that this is a widespread issue among our graduate student community.

A lease is a binding contract for both the landlord and the tenant. As long as the apartment or house is habitable, the tenant is contractually obligated to fulfill the terms of the lease, including paying rent, whether you are living in the unit or not. Generally speaking, there are only two exceptions: (a) if the landlord agrees to amend or terminate the lease or (b) the law allows you to amend or terminate your lease.

Unfortunately, there has not been a change in Maryland law that allows you to terminate your lease due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Hogan’s order prevents tenants from being evicted but does not help those who have left apartments because of the crisis. Given how quickly the situation is changing, there is always a chance future orders or legislation provide assistance for this issue, but it is certainly not a guarantee. 
 
At this moment, you may be thinking (or yelling), “But this is a global health pandemic! I should not have to pay rent where I'm not living!” We agree with you, but the law may not. Though there is very limited case law on this issue, courts in New York did not find grounds for a tenant to stop paying rent when there was an outbreak of scarlet fever in their apartment building unless the landlord’s negligence caused the infectious disease to be introduced to the building. Majestic Hotel Co. v. Eyre, 53 A.D. 273, 274 (App. Div. 1900). If courts in Maryland follow similar reasoning, it will be difficult to argue that your landlord was negligent or contributed to the spread of the coronavirus.
 
Absent any new legislation, you should review your lease to determine if there is a mechanism within their lease that defines terms to end their lease early (e.g. lease termination clauses, early termination penalties, assignment provisions, etc.). Even if there are no provisions or clauses within your lease that allow you to terminate the lease, you can still attempt to negotiate a lease termination with your landlord (though your landlord is not required to do so). For more information about breaking your lease, click here.
 
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have additional questions or to discuss your situation. Please schedule an appointment here
 
Please stay tuned for next week's “Ask the Attorney” that will explain Maryland’s temporary ban on evictions and what that means for students who get behind (or stop paying) their rent.

Best regards, 
Zac
___
William Zachariah Mundy, Esq.
Director
Graduate Student Legal Aid Office (GLAO)



Our Mission

 

The Graduate Student Legal Aid Office provides a wide range of free and confidential legal services to the University of Maryland College Park graduate students who are currently enrolled and pay the graduate student activity fee. GLAO is funded by graduate student fees allocated by the Graduate Student Government. Our mission is to meet the critical legal needs of our diverse graduate student population in a culturally competent, compassionate, and supportive setting.  

Want to learn more?  Click below for information about: 

 
Office Hours


Mondays: 11am-5pm

Tuesdays: 9am-11:30am & 2pm-3pm

Wednesdays: 9am-5pm

Thursdays: 9am-3pm

Fridays: Closed


Location

South Campus Dining Hall, 3rd Floor, Room #3125

 

Email

glao@umd.edu

 

Telephone

(301) 405-5807 

Let's Keep In Touch

Click here to join our Google Group