Have you been served an eviction notice recently? Well, as worrying, stressful, and serious as the situation is, you’re definitely not the only one going through it. A staggering 10% of the US population were expected to face eviction by the end of last year.
That’s tens of millions of people around the country who may have fallen on hard times and been unable to pay their rent/mortgage. And now they, like you, face the prospect of being forced to leave their home. Knowing you’re not alone in this predicament’s very different from understanding how to deal with an eviction though!
What should you do now the notice is on your door? How should you respond? And what legal rights and recourses are available to you?
If those kinds of questions are running around your mind, then this post should help. Keep reading to learn our top tips for dealing with an eviction.
The very first thing to do is stop, take a breath, and fight the urge to panic! Being served an eviction notice can be a scary experience. However, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be homeless any time soon.
For one thing, evictions can take a reasonable amount of time (think weeks) to proceed from start to finish. For another, you have all sorts of rights to leverage and opportunities to fight the process. And last, there’s a wide array of free legal resources and aid available to help your case.
So try to let the initial anxiety subside! You’re not alone, and the eviction notice definitely doesn’t mean you’ll be forced to leave your home in the immediate future. With that in mind, it’s time to get practical…
Do Your Research
Getting an eviction notice is never fun. But it’s ten times worse when you don’t know how the process works. That ignorance amounts to uncertainty, which leads many people to feel hopeless, disempowered, and at the mercy of the powers that be.
That’s why the next pivotal step is to do as much research as possible into eviction laws in your state. That last bit’s important. After all, the rules, regulations, and reasons for eviction vary around the country, so it’s crucial to be informed about how it works in your part of the country.
Turn to the internet, speak to any attorneys you know, and/or look for free legal aid classes in your area. Do whatever you can to wrap your head around the eviction process! You’ll come away feeling a greater sense of control of the situation and with a better idea of what you need to do next.
Heed the Notice
Time is of the essence when it comes to evading eviction. Why? Because your landlord will have given you a set time-frame in which to pay the balance on anything you owe (or to leave the property).
Fail to deliver that money by the due date and they can get a court order to evict you from the premises. If you’re lucky, you’ll live in a state with longer notice periods of up to 60 days. In some cases, though, you might only have 72 hours to pay that balance.
Of course, late rent payments aren’t the only reason people get served an eviction notice. If you’ve violated the terms of your lease in other ways, then overcoming the issue could be harder than coughing up the cash. In any case, you have to act within the allocated time period if you wish to protest the eviction in court.
Speak to the Landlord
Not all landlords are made equal. They range from fair, gracious, and tolerant to impatient, vindictive, and unwilling to cooperate. With any luck, your landlord will fall on the better end of that spectrum.
Whatever they’re like, though, it’s still worth reaching out to them and trying to talk through the eviction. You could explain the situation and why you’ve struggled to pay the rent (maybe you’ve lost your job because of COVID, for example). An understanding landlord might be willing to negotiate a payment plan for any overdue rent and let you stay until it’s paid off.
Be sure to get it down in writing if that happens though. The last thing you want is for the landlord to change their mind and for you to have no evidence of the arrangement.
Hire a Lawyer
The best way to deal with an eviction is to hire a lawyer though. Now, you don’t need professional legal support and could choose to do everything yourself; contesting the eviction and traversing the court system alone. However, we wouldn’t blame you if the entire ordeal felt too overwhelming to tackle like that.
You might be worried about making mistakes. You may feel unconfident about going to court and speaking up for yourself; perhaps you’re totally lost and don’t have an inkling where to begin! Whatever the situation, having an attorney who specializes in tenant law can make a major difference.
They’ll answer your questions, explain your rights and responsibilities, and guide you through the entire process. Of course, you pay for their support. But that could be a worthy investment if it helps you stay in your home.
Remember How to Deal With an Eviction Notice
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to evictions. The bad news is that they’re ubiquitous in America these days and always challenging experiences to go through. The good news is that they don’t have to end badly!
Thanks to the wealth of resources and support that’s available, you can deal with an eviction with much less trouble than you might expect. We hope the information in this post will help in that regard. Keep it in mind if you’ve been served an eviction notice and you should be one step closer to coming through it unscathed.
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