Help: How Can I Stop Being Evicted?
Unemployment rates are on the rise. In fact, more than 30 million workers applied for unemployment in the first half of 2020.
For people on unemployment, finding ways to pay rent isn’t easy. More renters are starting to fall behind and this puts them at risk of getting evicted.
If you’re one of them, don’t give up hope. You may be able to fight the eviction and stay in your rental. Here’s what you need to do to get started.
Look at the Landlord-Tenant Act for Your State
As a tenant, you have certain rights under the law. These rights are clearly outlined in your state’s Landlord-Tenant Act.
Read up on that act and make sure your landlord hasn’t violated their responsibilities. If they have, you may be able to fight the eviction.
If they haven’t, read up on what your responsibilities are as a tenant. This will give you a better understanding of why your landlord sent you an eviction notice in the first place.
Once you can identify where things went wrong, you may be able to talk things over with your landlord and reach an agreement. If both you and the landlord agree to certain terms, you may be able to stay in your rental for the rest of the lease term.
If not, they may be more flexible with the eviction terms and could give you more time to find a place to go.
Speak with an Attorney
If you’ve received a three days eviction notice from your landlord, the best thing you can do is speak with an attorney. They’ll be able to look at your situation and help you find ways to stall or halt the eviction process quickly.
If you don’t move fast, you may miss your window of opportunity. After an eviction notice, you have about a week to either contest the eviction or retrieve your stuff.
Speaking with an attorney as soon as you receive the notice will let you start fighting the eviction immediately.
Avoid Representing Yourself
Evictions are complex and when emotions get tied up in the situation, it’s hard to keep a level head. While it is possible to represent yourself in an eviction trial, avoid it whenever possible.
Though hiring an attorney will cost you money upfront, it can save you money in the long run. They’ll be able to argue your case for you and may be able to find flaws in the landlord’s actions that you would otherwise miss.
Even better, they’ll be able to answer all of your questions like “how long does it take to get evicted for not paying rent?” or “how long do you have to get your stuff after getting evicted?”
They know the law and can explain it to you clearly so you know your rights.
Start Documenting Everything
Stalling or halting the eviction is always easier to do if you keep detailed records of everything you and your landlord discuss and do.
If you’ve been making rent payments on time, print off your bank statements showing those payments. If your landlord unfairly harasses you or imposes on your rights, write those interactions down and include the date and time.
The more information you can compile, the easier it will be for your attorney to mount a defense.
Try to Settle with the Landlord
Often, tenants get evicted because they fell behind on rent or did damage to the property that threatens the safety of the structure. Making good on what you owe or taking care of those repairs may be enough to stop the eviction.
The best thing you can do is mediate the situation with your attorney. Discuss your options with your landlord and see if they’d be willing to halt the eviction if you pay up. If so, you’ll be able to stay in the property as long as you can come up with the money and stay current on rent.
Just make sure to get everything in writing. If the landlord changes their mind, you’ll be able to use this new settlement agreement to keep them from being able to evict you.
You’ll also need to make a plan to stay current on rent payments for the rest of your lease term. If you can’t, the landlord can start the eviction process again.
Go to Court
Unfortunately, some landlords won’t be willing to settle outside of court. If this is the case, you and your attorney will need to attend all hearings related to your eviction.
This might sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Going to court gives your attorney a chance to argue your case. They can explain why you don’t deserve to get evicted and outline the steps you’re willing to take to stay in the property.
They can also petition for a motion to dismiss the eviction. A motion to dismiss is ideal if the landlord didn’t follow the law or missed certain steps to initiate the eviction.
If your landlord did everything right according to the law, you can choose to fight the eviction with your attorney. It’s tough to win in court when you choose to fight the eviction, but it is possible.
Keep in mind that fighting the eviction can ruin any positive relationship you may have with your landlord. If you choose to stay in your rental after fighting the eviction, be ready and consider looking for a new rental home to move into as soon as your lease is up.
Are You at Risk of Getting Evicted?
If you think your landlord is trying to get you evicted, don’t wait. Contact an attorney as soon as possible and follow this guide.
The sooner you start fighting your eviction notice with legal help, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to stay in your rental.
Are you new to renting and want to better understand what your obligations are and the rights you have as a tenant? Check out our latest posts for more insight into being the best tenant possible.