Unfortunately NLSA does not have the resources to provide full service in every case. In order to assist as many eligible clients as possible, NLSA has set up a telephone advice system in all service areas. This Helpline is a convenient way for clients to obtain basic legal advice, pamphlet material, and referrals to other agencies which may be able to assist them.
All calls are now handled through a Centralized Intake Unit. Callers may call either their local county number, if available, or the toll-free number at (866) 761-6572. Helpline hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am – 11:30 am and from 1:00 pm until 2:30 pm.
Allegheny County Helpline
Beaver County Helpline
Butler County Helpline
Lawrence County Helpline
The Helpline is funded, in part, through the generosity of a grant from the Alcoa Foundation. With the aid of this two-year grant, NLSA impacted 5,718 people in 146 different communities in our four-county area.
Those impacted include 60 year old JD, who lived on social security disability income. He contacted our helpline upon being sued in eviction. He paid $475.00 per month in rent for a duplex out of his $666.67 monthly income. All rent was paid up at the time the eviction was filed but he had withheld rent because the landlord took too long to remove a tree which had fallen on the home. We advised him to attend the hearing at the Magisterial District Judge (MDJ), and request that the judge dismiss the case due to the landlord’s failure to provide a written notice to vacate. Since he had an oral lease, the landlord should have given him a written notice to vacate prior to filing the eviction action. We advised him to be prepared to argue that the landlord was not entitled to evict him since his rent was paid up at the time he filed. We warned him that the landlord might try to evict him for the end of lease term. Since he had a verbal lease, the landlord could have decided at any point to not renew the lease, but the landlord should still have given him a written notice to vacate listing this as the reason for the eviction, not nonpayment of rent. We learned that the client won at the MDJ hearing and advised him to apply for public housing given his limited income.
We were also able to assist a 33 year old single mother of 3 who called us after being harassed by Ms. A., who stated that she was acting on behalf of the client’s landlord. The client had never dealt with this person, instead having dealt with a Mrs. P., one of the owners of the property. Apparently the owners, Mr. and Mrs. P., were in the midst of a divorce. The client was uncertain about her status as a tenant and about the payment of her rent. Section 8 told her not to pay her rent but she was concerned about this causing her to lose her rental subsidy because Section 8 was still paying the landlord. NLSA emailed the legal department to try to clarify the situation, but got no response. We went online to the Court website and looked at the legal pleadings in the divorce case. We discovered that the family court order stated that Mr. P. was given the exclusive right to manage and operate the rental properties. We advised the client to pay rent directly to Mr. P. and have nothing to do with Ms. A. unless she presented something in writing from Mr. P. authorizing her to act on his behalf. To have done otherwise could have subjected the client to an eviction for nonpayment of rent. We further advised her to find new housing, as she had no way of knowing whether Mr. P. would be able to take care of any tax issues on the property and whether he would want to continue to rent it as a Section 8 property.