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What Should I do When Facing Eviction?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 17, 2024
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At the personal level, facing eviction is an unfortunate and often traumatizing event. In legal terms, eviction is a process, regulated by law, in which a landlord can have a tenant removed from his or her property. There are specific rules for how and under what conditions this can be done.

If you are facing eviction, the first thing you need to do is determine the cause of the threatened action. If you have received an eviction notice, it should give solid reasons for this proposed action. The notice will generally include a timeline stating that certain actions must be taken, or you must move out, by a certain date.

If you know you have in some way failed to honor the lease or other rental agreement, and you are facing eviction due to some act or omission on your part, contact the landlord to see if there is anything you can do to correct the problem. You may still be able to avoid eviction. If you have not received notice that you are facing eviction, you have not missed payments, and you have not in any other way violated your agreement, you should be able to fight it and may even be able to take legal action against your landlord.

If the owner of the property attempts to push you out by utilizing unlawful methods, you may also have grounds for legal action. In many areas, unlawful methods can include things like removing your possessions, changing locks or otherwise barring your access to the property, halting utilities, or threatening you. Of course, you must be able to prove these things so take care to document all actions and interactions thoroughly when facing eviction.

There are sources you can turn to for help. You have certain tenant’s rights during eviction. Seeking advice from an attorney may prove helpful. Ask about a free consultation. If facing eviction, you may also be able to enlist help from the tenant’s association, if there is one, or work with other tenants who are also experiencing problems with the landlord.

Facing eviction can be very stressful, but if you follow the proper procedures, you may be able to turn things around. Be sure to file an answer with the court before the deadline, as stated in the eviction notice. Prepare a reasonable defense or explain the issues in a matter of fact way, stating what you intend to do to cure the default — if any — within the allotted time-frame. In some areas, eviction mediation may be available, and you may be able to work out an agreement with the landlord.

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Discussion Comments
By Cageybird — On Feb 12, 2014

I would suggest doing something constructive with your time, like looking for other places to live or packing up personal items. Like the article suggests, an eviction notice may not be chiseled in stone, but waiting until the very last day of the notice to become proactive isn't a great idea, either. Being asked to leave the premises is always an outcome to consider.

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