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What does an Eviction Lawyer do?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

Eviction, also known in some places as an unlawful detainer, can be a difficult process to navigate. An eviction lawyer specializes in eviction law and may focus on either helping landlords to evict tenants or defending tenants from eviction. When an eviction lawyer represents a landlord, he will typically advise his client as to whether he has grounds to evict the tenant and then prepare, file, and serve the eviction papers and represent his client in court. If the eviction lawyer represents a tenant, she can help her client develop a defense to an eviction, present the tenant's case to the judge, or try and delay a physical eviction so her client has more time to find another place to live or work.

In many places, eviction, especially a housing eviction, is considered to be a very serious matter. In the United States and the United Kingdom, for example, an eviction can only take place via a court order. Usually there is a court hearing, and the tenant has the right to give his side of the story to the judge. In countries that have laws that protect tenants' rights, landlords are often forbidden from physically removing the tenant or her belongings from a home and must rely on law enforcement to enforce an eviction. This is true even if the tenant has committed a crime, failed to pay rent, or damaged the rental home.

A notice of eviction posted on a door.
A notice of eviction posted on a door.

A good eviction lawyer can protect the rights of a landlord to collect his rent and protect his property. Tenants sometimes successfully delay an eviction by exploiting errors in paperwork or raising as a defense a landlord's failure to follow the eviction process properly. A landlord's rights attorney can ensure that the eviction paperwork is completed correctly and advise the landlord on the proper procedure for conducting the eviction. The eviction lawyer can also assist with suing a tenant for damages to the rental unit, as well as any back rent due.

On the other hand, a tenant's rights lawyer can defend a tenant against an illegal eviction and ensure that the tenant's rights during eviction are protected. For example, even if the landlord has grounds to evict a tenant, a tenant's rights lawyer can sometimes get the tenant extra time to remain in the home or can negotiate with the landlord's eviction lawyer to avoid court and resulting damage to the tenant's credit report entirely. A tenant eviction lawyer may also be able to help the tenant in other ways, such as filing a countersuit against the landlord to retrieve the tenant's security deposit or negotiating a financial settlement that can help the tenant with moving costs.

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    • A notice of eviction posted on a door.
      By: bagraphix
      A notice of eviction posted on a door.