Local attorneys want to help renters know their rights

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. The Springfield Metropolitan Bar Foundation started their multi-year outreach series Tuesday night.

The 1217 Project will focus its efforts towards education as a way to help reduce poverty.

"Give me what you got," said Gregg Cadwallader.

He and his wife took a front row seat to hear what attorney Dan Wichmer had to say about renter's rights.

"To learn a little bit about what you can do if you get put in a bad situation and hopefully how to avoid getting in a bad situation," said Cadwallader.

The Cadwalladers haven't always lived in Springfield.

"We came from Iowa. They have different laws in Iowa. Then we come down here and it's just, it was kind of an eye opener," he said.

Cadwallader said he felt the laws protected him while he rented his home in Iowa.

"They're required to be inspected every year. They kind of take it seriously up there," he explained.

It's why he felt the need to really understand what Missouri's laws are.

"It's better to have more information than not enough," he said.

Crista Hogan, with the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Foundation said, "It's difficult to take responsibility when you don't have resources and you don't know the rules."

She organized Tuesday's event.

"The concept is to promote financial literacy, legal literacy, civics education for the simple reason that knowledge is power," she explained.

People were given information on the very basics of renting. They were informed on what to ask for when starting the leasing process and what should be included on the lease agreement.

They also received information on security deposits, move-in inspections and how to work with landlords to get repairs made.

Attorneys also answered questions specific to individual renting situations.

"It's nice to be able to see the good ones (attorneys) out there doing something and putting some information out there that you can use," said Cadwallader.

Hogan said, "We have the gift of having some lawyers who are incredibly philanthropic and give their time. When we can do that we can really make a difference in a shorter period of time."

The Springfield Metropolitan Bar Foundation will continue to hold free legal advice events.

If you need help with renter's rights you can contact them with your specific questions. You can send them an email at info@springfieldbar.com.