Legal, Housing and Consumer Counseling for Housing and Related Matters
Principles behind legal counseling

  • Legal Counseling is the process of helping a client to make a decision. A part of this process, the person providing legal counseling will typically give their opinion about a matter, which will typically be based upon legal precedent (the law), economic, social, and other considerations.
  • Informed Consent – Clients have the right of full access to information about other legal resources and social service options available to them before entering into the mediation process.
  • Impartiality – All participants have the right to fair, open and equal treatment, free from bias, prejudice or conflict of interest.
  • Confidentiality – All information will be kept within the Program, with any exceptions being agreed upon beforehand.

Distinguishing legal counseling from legal representation (typically by an attorney)
An attorney or legal representative has many obligations to his or her client. They must zealously defend the interests of the client and respond to the client’s concerns. They must communicate with the client, keeping the client informed about the status of the case and explain developments so that the client can make informed tactical decisions. They must abide by the client’s decisions regarding the objectives of the representation. With few exceptions an attorney or legal representative may not divulge client communications to outside parties without the client’s consent.

Legal/Educational Counseling is available to Berkshire County Tenants, Homeowners, and Rental Property Owners. Specific areas covered include but are not limited to the following:

Landlord/Tenant Law

  • Security Deposit Law
  • Last Month’s Rent Law
  • Types of Tenancies
  • Termination of Tenancies
  • Evictions
  • Fair Housing Laws
  • Reasonable Accommodation Requirements
  • State Sanitary Code Requirements
  • Subsidized/Affordable Housing Regulations
  • Foreclosure Laws Related to Rentals
  • Quiet Enjoyment Laws
  • Utilities Issues
  • Lead Paint Law
  • Housing Rehabilitation Resources
  • Financial Assistance Programs
  • Document Review
  • Community Supports and Linkage

Housing Search Related Assistance

  • Private Market Housing Resources
  • Subsidized and Public Housing Resources
  • Community Supports and Linkage
  • Budgeting/Financial Planning/Financial Assistance
  • Housing Search strategies