Things To Know About Home Eviction
If you’re a renter, there can be nothing more shocking than suddenly being served an eviction notice. What are you supposed to do then? Is the eviction legal? How do you go on about it?
In case you’re facing trouble with your current rental home or are under a threat of eviction, there are certain programs and protection laws that protect you. You must familiarize yourself with these laws and programs available to help you get through tough situations like these. Additionally, some pandemic-related protection laws will also come in handy to help you out.
To help you know what these programs and protection laws are, we have listed them down for you.
How Home Evictions Work
Your landlord cannot lock you out or forcefully throw you out of your house. To do so, they may first have to court and get a judgement first. This is even if you’re falling behind on paying your rent. The landlord needs to terminate your tenancy by giving you a written eviction notice. Well, even after receiving the termination notice, if you fail to pay your rent (or find a new home for your cat), your landlord can go ahead and file a lawsuit.
This kind of lawsuit is termed as a UD lawsuit or unlawful detainer lawsuit. With this lawsuit, your landlord will have to prove in court the reasons why you’re being evicted. They must justify ending the termination of your tenancy by adequate reasoning and proof. Only then will the court of justice take an action and give its verdict.
This is just the gist of how things would go about if that is the case. There are layers to this and you need to know those to get a better understanding of what you would be required to do in such cases and what the procedure is really like. Each state has their own procedures and ways to go about such cases. So we have listed down things that you need to know about home evictions.
Procedure Of Legal Home Eviction
As mentioned earlier, every state has different procedures to handle home eviction cases. We will discuss the state laws and procedures that most states in the US follow.
Tenant Eviction Notice Of Termination For Cause
Your landlord will send you a notice of termination for cause in case you have violated some aspects of your lease or rental contract. Under these types of termination letters, your landlord will state the reasons why they are terminating your lease. There are generally three kinds of eviction notices that you may receive.
Pay Rent Or Quit
You’ll receive a Pay Rent or Quit Notice if you have failed to pay your rent on a regular basis. If you have rent of over 4-5 months pending, you’ll get this notice giving you about a week’s time to pay it in due time. If you fail to pay your rent within the numbered days, you have to move out.
Cure Or Quit
You’re most likely to receive a Cure or Quit Notice from your landlord if you have violated certain terms and conditions of your lease or rental contract. These terms and conditions can be something like not having followed the no-pet clause, violating the excessive noise clause, or even having a lot of people over at once.
All of these violations are usually reoccurring and need to be corrected, which is why your landlord has sent such a notice. Under these notices, you get a set number of days or weeks to correct or ‘cure’ these violations. You can then utilize the set number of days or weeks to correct the violations and extend your stay in the house.
Also See: How to write a Rental Application
Unconditional Quit Notices are there but the harshest ones you could receive. Under these notices, you’re not given any chances to correct your violations, if any, or pay your previously pending rent. You just have to vacate the house under a set period.
In order for you to get such a notice, there are certain rules that you must have broken. These notices are allowed only if you’re guilty of one or some of the following:
- Violated the rental or lease clause more than a few times.
- Have failed or delayed the payment of rent over many months.
- Caused damage to the property.
- Been engaged in some illegal activities on the property.
Tenant Eviction Notice Of Termination Without Cause
In certain situations, you may also receive a tenant eviction notice of termination without cause from your landlord. With notices like these, your landlord is allowed to ask you to move out without you having violated any clauses from the contract or broken any rules or paid your rent in time. But under such circumstances, you’re allowed some extra protection.
With such notices, you’re given a notice period that allows you time to find another place to rent. In most cases, you get 30 to 60 days of notice period. This notice period varies from state to state. But either way, you have no choice but to vacate the place within the allotted time or you’ll be forced out of the house.
Rent Control Evictions
Some states like New Jersey even have Rent Control Evictions that protect you from getting evicted for no reason. Under this rule, your landlord will have to provide a valid reason for the eviction. Unless the landlord has a good enough reason to do so, they will not be allowed to evacuate your house forcefully.
After Getting The Eviction Notice
Getting an adequate written notice from your landlord to evict you from your house is the first step. The notice must conform to certain formalities and mention the reasons for the eviction as well. Once you receive the notice, you have a few options that you may choose to follow up with:
The first way you can follow up with the eviction notice by your landlord is to simply move out! The eviction notice will give you a notice period of a few weeks or a month, during which you can look for new apartments or rentals and choose to move out of the current space. You can find Apartment using Best Apartment Finder Websites and Apps.
Fix The Issue
The second option for you is to fix and work on things that your landlord has mentioned in the eviction notice. The eviction notice will have stated some reasons as to why your landlord is opting to evict you from your house. Whether it is a delay in payment of rent, keeping a secret pet, or smoking in the house, if your landlord is willing to let you have another chance, take it!
If either of these plans does not work in your favor, you can choose to do nothing about the situation and not respond to your landlord. This is most unrecommended as it’s likely that your landlord will sue you under the DU lawsuit. This will allow them to go ahead with the eviction procedure legally.
If you fail to oblige to the terms and conditions mentioned in your rental agreement after receiving the termination notice, your landlord can go forward with a lawsuit. This will enable them to officially vacate you from their property. This is only if you fail to vacate the house in due time, fail to pay your pending rent, or fail to correct the rules you violated in the contract.
Your landlord will give you an official complaint of eviction after which the court will give you a date and time for the hearing. One thing to remember is that you’ll have to attend the hearing before the judge. If you fail to do so, it’s likely that the judge will rule against you. You’ll then have to legally evict the house and move to a new one.
Defences You Can Use In Court
When you appear in court, you’ll be allowed to present your case and defend your position. You can do two things to make your case stronger. You can point out all the mistakes that your landlord made in the process of eviction by showing some definitive proof. You can also highlight how you’re working towards fixing the violations or showing proof of how you have paid all of your pending rent in due time as per the notice sent to you.
Apart from these, if you have any genuine reasoning that you can present in front of the court, go ahead and do so. It will only help you build a strong case for yourself and help you keep your house.
In any case if your landlord wins the lawsuit, they cannot physically or forcefully throw you out of the house. Your landlord will have to present the judgement passed by the court to your local Sheriff and pay some fee. After this, the sheriff will get back to you in a few days to escort you out. In such cases, it’s best to vacate the house in due time.
Ways To Prevent House Eviction
There are certain steps you can take to prevent getting evicted from your house. We know neither you nor the landlord would want matters to escalate so much that the law gets involved. So here are the different ways you can save yourself from getting evicted!
Negotiate With Your Landlord
Staying in touch with your landlord is one of the most important ways to prevent house eviction. Maintaining communication with your landlord can help you negotiate with them the terms of your lease and termination of the same. Even if you’re facing some financial issues, you can communicate with them. Some landlords are open to working with their renters and not going ahead with the termination of the lease.
Pay Basic Bills
In case you are unable to pay off all your bills and rent, make sure to split them up into parts. You can pay off your basic utility bills, water bills, food and housing bills on a priority basis. If you’re on a close budget, you can try to pull some strings and convince your creditors to make some exceptions for the time being.
Get Help Paying Your Rent
It’s quite likely that your finances have been greatly affected due to the pandemic. If so, the government has opened up several rental assistance programs at the district and state levels to help people pay off their rent. You can have a look at some of these programs in your neighborhood and apply for assistance. Some non-profit organizations also have some excellent rental assistance programs that also help you pay off your bills.
We hope you were able to understand all of the above-mentioned pointers when it comes to eviction. Knowing all of the legal procedures and other crucial things you need to be mindful of when dealing with house eviction can help you in many ways. We hope through this article, you’ll be able to make informed decisions.
FAQs On Home Eviction
Can The Landlord Evict You Without Court Order?
No, Your landlord can never force you out of the house legally without having a legal notice from the court. Even with the court notice, your landlord will have to present it to the local police department, pay some fee, and have the Sheriff escort you out.
Do You Have 30 Days After Eviction Notice?
Your landlord will have to give you a tenant eviction notice that will state the number of days you have to evict the house. With a tenant eviction notice of termination without cause, you’ll have anywhere between 30 to 60 days until you have to vacate the house.
Can A Landlord Evict You If There Is No Lease?
Without having a signed lease, you’re supposed to pay your rent on a monthly basis. If you fail to do so on a regular basis, you’re more likely to be evicted by a landlord without having to provide you with any legal notices.
How Long After The Eviction Court Date Do You Have To Move?
The process of eviction is a long one in most states. In most cases, such a process takes several months. If your landlord wins and gets an eviction order, you have anywhere between 3 to 7 days to move out of the house.