Julio Figueroa and Ana Mercedes Ruiz lived in their apartment complex for eight years, dutifully paying rent for an apartment was infested with cockroaches and bedbugs, and riddled with holes, leaks, and mold. During the winter, they would go days without heat, and their calls for repairs were ignored. When their landlord increased their rent, they refused to pay the increase until repairs were made, and the couple was sued for eviction. Mr. Figueroa and Ms. Ruiz, who had immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic, were unfamiliar with D.C.’s legal system and had limited ability to communicate in English. With Legal Aid on their side, the situation changed dramatically: repairs were finally made, the suit for eviction was dismissed, and the landlord even agreed to reimburse Mr. Figueroa and Ms. Ruiz for money they had overpaid during the years they had lived in deplorable conditions.
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