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 during the office hours listed to the right. We continue to respond to phone calls and emails, and we are holding legal, advodcate, and immigration appointments via phone, email or virtually. Please know that 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
 

  

 

Notary Services

We have suspended our notary services until we return to campus.  Until then, we are referring students to the following on-line notary services.  The vendors listed below provide communication technology specifically designed to perform remote notarizations. The list is not intended to be an all-inclusive or comprehensive list, nor is it an endorsement of any vendor, nor is it any particular order.



TerpTax  

TerpTax will re-start appointments in mid-May.  Make your on-line appointment at TerpTax website, https://umd-vita.com/.  For more information about TerpTax and The Graduate School's tax resources visit gradschool.umd.edu/terptax.  Answers to frequently asked questions for international students are available on ISSS' website.  

The following information is from Sam Handwerger, the TerpTax advisor.  If you have further questions, please schedule an appointment with TerpTax:

"It is now absolutely official that any international nonresident student receiving the $1,200 stimulus check from the IRS should return the money ASAP. The IRS has released guidance on how to handle this repayment, which can be found through TerpTax. Further, any domestic student receiving such a check should seek guidance from their or their family's tax preparer to see if it is correct, as in many cases it may not be. TERPTAX is open to assisting anyone with the process of returning the check, but for our international students - receiving the check probably means that they used TurboTax and filed the wrong form for either 2018 or 2019, or both. In these international cases, to avoid further visa problems, they should return the check. and document the attempt to return, and file an amended return(s) where necessary."


 


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

 

 


 

Request a Consultation
Click here

 

Location

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

 

Email

glao@umd.edu

 

Telephone

(301) 405-5807
 

Let's Keep In Touch

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