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Know Your Rights and Prevent Future Legal Problems

Posted September 8, 2023
12:05 pm

By Anne Sweeney

Many of us hope we never face a serious legal problem and do not have any reason to learn about our legal rights until we are forced to. But learning about your legal rights and responsibilities in common situations can be key to avoiding future legal problems.

For example:

  • As a tenant, if your landlord does not make necessary repairs, you should know that you are still required to pay rent. You can use a process to deposit rent at the court in order to compel the landlord to make the repairs. If you stop paying rent, you will likely face eviction.
  • If you receive benefits from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or cash assistance, you have the right to notice and a hearing before your benefits are terminated. If you request a hearing within 15 days of getting a termination notice, your benefits must continue until after the hearing. Otherwise, you may still request a hearing, but your benefits will stop more quickly.

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland shares information about legal rights and responsibilities in several ways.

  • On Legal Aid’s website you can find a variety of frequently asked questions, brochures, and other self-help materials. Visit, click “Services & Resources” then “Legal Resources” to view resources by topic.
  • Videos are posted on Legal Aid’s YouTube Channel ( and Facebook page ( that explain common legal topics.
  • Request a speaker from Legal Aid to speak with your group about legal rights. Send an email to In the email, be sure to include all the details about what you want to learn, who is in the group, and when you would like to schedule the event.
  • Individuals and families with low income in Northeast Ohio can get advice about their legal rights in specific situations by attending a Legal Aid Brief Advice Clinic to speak with an attorney. Find clinic dates and locations online:

You may also find other helpful information online. Be careful to rely only on trusted websites. Some examples of other online resources with reliable information include:

This article was published in Legal Aid's newsletter, "The Alert" Volume 39, Issue 2, in September 2023. See full issue at this link: “The Alert”- Volume 39, Issue 2 – Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

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