what type of lawyer do you need if you are being evicted

by Lawrence Ferry MD 9 min read

A landlord-tenant lawyer can help you prepare your case to avoid being wrongfully evicted, by using procedures and laws that might be unfamiliar to a non-lawyer.Nov 15, 2020

Do I need a lawyer for an eviction?

May 18, 2020 · A landlord-tenant lawyer can help you prepare your case to avoid being wrongfully evicted, by using procedures and laws that might be unfamiliar to a non-lawyer. Hiring an Attorney for an Eviction Perhaps most importantly, if you are being evicted, you and your family members are at risk of losing your home and having an eviction on your record which can affect future …

What to do if you are getting evicted from a house?

If the tenant has good reason to defend against the eviction notice, then they should hire a qualified attorney to argue on their behalf in court. This can help ensure a more successful outcome due to the legal procedures involved and certain evidence that the tenant may not know to gather themselves.

Can a landlord file an eviction lawsuit?

Jun 18, 2021 · If the landlord has retained a lawyer for the trial, the tenant should strongly consider using a lawyer as well. The Civil Law Help Self-help Center has put together a detailed article that reviews your options for responding to an eviction notice by either filing an affidavit or answering with the court.

Is it legal to fight an eviction in the US?

Apr 05, 2022 · You have the right to file a written answer explaining to the court why you should not be evicted. If you don’t have a lawyer yet, you can file an answer on your own. Explain your situation and what you are doing to try and find help. Describe what your landlord has or hasn’t done to get the federal rental assistance funds.

How Does A Landlord Evict A Tenant?

The landlord must provide the tenant with adequate written notice in a specified way and form, which varies by state. If the tenant does not move,...

What Should The Eviction Notice Say?

State laws set out very detailed requirements for landlords who want to end a tenancy. Different types of notices are often required for different...

Can A Landlord Throw The Tenant and His Belongings Out on The Street?

No. The tenant has a few days to move his things and self out of the space. After that, the police can come and forcibly remove the tenant.

What Happens to My Property If The Eviction Occurs When I’M Not Home?

The landlord has a number of options regarding property after the tenant has been evicted. The landlord can retain and store the property for a fee...

What Defenses Does A Tenant Have Against Eviction?

There are a number of defenses a tenant can use to delay or stop an eviction. These include: 1. Warranty of habitability – The landlord has the dut...

Should I Consult A Lawyer About An Eviction?

Landlord-tenant law is very complicated and constantly undergoing changes. An experienced landlord-tenant attorney can help you identify the law th...

What to do if tenant is evicted?

If the tenant has good reason to defend against the eviction notice, then they should hire a qualified attorney to argue on their behalf in court. This can help ensure a more successful outcome due to the legal procedures involved and certain evidence that the tenant may not know to gather themselves.

Why would a landlord want to evict a tenant?

There are many different reasons for why the landlord may want to evict a tenant from a rental property, including: If the tenant has breached the terms of their lease or rental agreement (e.g., smoking in a non-smoking building or keeping pets despite no-pet conditions in the lease); and.

What happens when you file an eviction notice?

Once the eviction notice is filed with a local court, then the clerk will send a summons to the tenant and also provide the landlord with a court date for a hearing. At this stage, both the landlord and the tenant should be collecting evidence to support their arguments for and against the eviction at the hearing.

What to do if tenant forgot to pay rent?

If the tenant simply forgot to pay rent or is now in a situation where they are able to pay it, then the tenant should alert the landlord and make the payments.

What happens if a landlord removes a tenant's personal property?

If the landlord removes a tenant’s personal property before the eviction order is granted, then the tenant will have grounds to sue for illegal possession of property and any associated damages done to the property that were caused by the landlord’s illegal actions.

How long do you have to leave a house if you are not a tenant?

If a court rules in favor of the landlord, then the tenant will have a certain amount of days to leave the premises. If they have not left after the time period has expired, then the landlord may contact local law enforcement to have the tenant arrested and removed.

When should landlord and tenant come to their own agreement?

This should happen either before the landlord sends a formal eviction notice or the tenant should reach out to the landlord immediately after they receive it. This is especially true if the reason for the eviction is based on missing rent payments.

What do you need to do before an eviction?

According to Nolo, before an eviction trial, the tenant must file an answer with the court. The answer will detail any defenses the tenant wishes to make to challenge the eviction. At the trial, the tenant must prove any defenses made in the answer.

How to respond to eviction notice?

How to Respond to an Eviction Notice 1 Find information on federal, state, and local government assistance programs. 2 There are numerous charity organizations that can provide emergency assistance for paying bills, rent, food, and that offer support for other basic needs. 3 Community action agencies can help the low-income as well as unemployed. 4 Programs can provide help for senior citizens, including food, free medications, and housing. Click here. 5 Short-term help may be offered to families living in poverty as part of church assistance programs.

What is an eviction lawsuit?

An eviction is an official lawsuit, typically referred to as an unlawful detainer, that a landlord or housing provider files with the local courthouse against a renter. In order for a landlord to file an eviction lawsuit, he must follow your state’s laws for a legal eviction procedure. This usually includes notifying a renter of a lease violation, ...

What happens after an eviction?

After filing an eviction lawsuit, the landlord and tenant will be given a court date. If the judge rules in the favor the landlord, he will issue a Writ of Possession. A “Writ of Possession” is a document distributed by the court when a judge rules to return possession of the rental property back to the landlord.

What happens if a tenant doesn't sign an eviction notice?

If the tenant does neither in the designated timeline, your landlord can move forward with filing an eviction. Cure or Quit Notice – This notice is typically sent to tenants after they have violated a lease term, like having a pet in a pet-free property or smoking in a smoke-free area.

What is the difference between eviction and a pay rent or quit notice?

What’s the difference between an eviction and a “Pay Rent or Quit Notice” or a “Cure or Quit Notice”? If you receive an official notice to “Cure or Quit” or “Pay Rent or Quit”, do not start panicking. You are not actually getting evicted, yet, and no official documents have been filed with the local courthouse.

What to do if you feel like your renter rights are being violated?

If you feel like your renter rights are being violated, you should speak with your local housing authority or a licensed attorney familiar with landlord-tenant laws in your state. If you feel like you are in danger, contact the police immediately.

Select your situation to see what you can do

If you want to stay in your home, make a plan to catch up on your rent.

Legal help

If your landlord is threatening to evict you, or you need help understanding your rights, talk to a lawyer. You may qualify for free legal aid, based on your income.

States providing temporary eviction protections

The list below shows states with eviction protections in place, and the date the protections are scheduled to end. In some states, you may be protected from eviction while your application for federal emergency rental assistance is being processed.

How to evict a tenant?

Each state has laws governing the notice requirements a landlord must follow in order to evict a tenant. Typically, the eviction process begins when the landlord serves an eviction notice on the tenant. The eviction notice must contain certain information including: 1 The reason for the eviction; 2 The paragraph of the lease which has been violated; 3 The amount of rent, late fees, and other fees due if the basis for the eviction is non-payment of rent; and 4 The cure date (the date by which the violation must be corrected in order to avoid eviction).

How long does a tenant have to be evicted?

The statute of limitations on such a claim may be one year or less. A tenant's rights attorney can tell you what the statute of limitations is on a wrongful eviction claim in your state. A landlord who wrongfully evicts a tenant may be subject to very stiff penalties.

What is the eviction process?

Typically, the eviction process begins when the landlord serves an eviction notice on the tenant. The eviction notice must contain certain information including: The reason for the eviction; The paragraph of the lease which has been violated; The amount of rent, late fees, and other fees due if the basis for the eviction is non-payment of rent; and.

What is the cure date for eviction?

The cure date (the date by which the violation must be corrected in order to avoid eviction). Some states may require that other information be included in an eviction notice. Therefore, if you have been served with an eviction notice, don't ignore it.

Who to contact if you are being wrongfully convicted?

Eviction Lawyers. If you believe you are being or have been wrongfully convicted, contact an experienced tenant's rights attorney. Although the Internet may contain a lot of information on this subject, you should not rely on it because it may be incorrect or outdated. A knowledgeable tenant's rights attorney will review your lease, ...

Why do landlords change locks?

Changing locks or shutting off utilities because a tenant is behind on his rent; Ignoring repair issues which constitute a risk to the tenant's health or safety; Ignoring repair issues which make the property uninhabitable; and. Evicting the tenant and moving into the premises (known as an owner move-in eviction)

What are self help evictions?

Almost every state has banned “self-help” evictions, where the landlord does any of the following without having a court order: Changes the locks without alerting the tenant. Dumps a tenant’s belongings outside the rental unit. Shuts off a tenant’s utilities.

What is the first step in evicting a tenant?

Step 1: Lease Expires or Is Violated. Landlords can evict tenants for a variety of different reasons depending on the state. Typically, landlords must have a valid reason to evict a tenant unless the lease/rental agreement has expired, such as nonpayment of rent, illegal activity, and lease violations.

What is the purpose of a rent repayment hearing?

In states that schedule two hearings, often the initial hearing is designed to give the landlord and tenant the chance to work out an agreement to allow the tenant to remain in the rental unit, such as creating a rent re-payment schedule if the eviction is due to nonpayment of rent.

What happens if a tenant doesn't move out?

However, if the tenant is not able to correct the issue, or isn’t given the option to correct the issue and fails to move out by the deadline in the notice, then the landlord can proceed with the next step in the eviction process, which is filing an eviction action with the court.

Why is retaliatory eviction called retaliatory eviction?

These are called retaliatory evictions because it can appear that the landlord is trying to “get back” at the tenant for exercising their rights. If the rental unit is in a state that does not require written notice prior to beginning an eviction action, landlords may skip directly to step 4 below.

What happens at an eviction hearing?

At the eviction hearing, whether it’s the first hearing, the second hearing, or a jury trial, one of two things can happen: 1 The court rules in favor of the tenant 2 The court rules in favor of the landlord

What happens if a tenant fails to move out of a rental?

If the tenant fails to move out within their state’s deadline, then in nearly every state, law enforcement officials will return to the rental unit and forcibly remove (or evict) the tenant from the rental unit. See the chart below for the amount of time given to tenants to move out prior to being forcibly removed.

What to do if you get evicted?

If you are facing eviction now, here are four steps to take. 1. Don’t leave your home. The most important thing to do if you get an eviction notice is not to leave your home right away, Cea Weaver, statewide campaign coordinator for the Housing Justice for All coalition, tells CNBC Make It.

What to do if landlord is not following the law?

If you think your landlord is not following the law, you can file a complaint with your state’s attorney general. 4. Prepare for court. Ahead of your court date, make sure you understand how your city or state is currently hearing cases.

Why are courts holding hearings?

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many courts are now holding hearings over Zoom or other video-conferencing software. Some cities are using different venues for housing court that allow people to properly social distance. In court, you can argue your case.

When will the eviction moratorium end?

While the federal government extended its eviction moratorium through August 2020, that only covers tenants in federally-financed housing, which is about around 25% of renters. For the other 75% of renters, eviction bans and proceedings depend on the state or city. Some have already reopened housing courts, while others never put eviction bans ...

How to get free help for tenant?

To get free help, contact a local tenant’s organization or legal aid society. Relief organizations are local and you can search for a tenant’s organization in your area here. These groups can help connect you to a lawyer or another nonprofit legal group, Weaver says.

When will the eviction ban end?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday introduced legislation to extend the eviction ban to all renters nationwide through March 2021. That is a good first step, housing experts say, though any rent not paid until that time would still be owed once the ban lifts.

Can a landlord evict you if your building is federally financed?

If your building is federally financed, your landlord cannot evict you right now. Tenants living in private properties can see when eviction protections expire in their state here. The National Housing Law Project also put together a comprehensive list of resources on evictions and foreclosures in each state.

What should I do if I leave my apartment?

If you’re leaving your apartment and you have nowhere to go, your first priority should always be the safety of yourself, your family, and any pets. If you’re in a position to contact family or friends and ask if you can stay with them for a few days while you figure out what to do, that may be a good option.

How to take on a new tenant?

Taking on a new tenant is a gamble, and landlords want to make sure you’re capable of paying rent each month. You can do this by showing bank account details, confirming employment and income, or having another person, such as a parent, step in as a guarantor. 7. Consider Renting a Room from Friends or Family.

What happens when you leave your house?

When you find out you need to leave your home, you may feel scared, angry, stressed, and confused. While these feelings are completely normal, the best course of action is to stay calm. Getting angry at your landlord isn’t going to change anything. Remember, you will find a new place and things will get better!

What does it mean to ask for references for an apartment?

When renting an apartment, the application will ask for references. Generally, this means both personal and professional references—people who know you well and can speak to your character. Before putting in applications for rentals, reach out to individuals who you think might give you a good reference.

Do rental agencies check credit?

Many rental agencies will run a credit check when you apply for an apartment, which can be challenging if you defaulted on rent payments in the past. It can take time, but you can improve your credit score over time, which can make you more favorable to landlords.

Do you have to go through the rental application process?

This way, you won’t need to go through the rental application process. By paying monthly rent for the room rental, the person you’re renting from can later act as a referee for you, confirming that you’ve been paying rent on time and have been a good tenant.

Can I get evicted and have nowhere to go?

There are many reasons for tenant eviction, and many landlords will be sympathetic and understanding of your situation, as most of us have gone through hard times and can relate. On rental applications, don’t try to hide the fact that you were evicted.

How to evict a tenant?

When a landlord wants to evict a tenant, they must go through a legal procedure as outlined by state laws. The specifics of this procedure can vary from state to state, though it generally involves the following steps: 1 Send a termination notice to the tenant (Pay or Quit Notice, Cure or Quit Notice, or Unconditional Quit Notice) 2 File an eviction lawsuit if the tenant fails or refuses to remedy the situation (Pay or Cure) 3 Allow the tenant time to respond to the complaint and summons 4 Obtain a judgment for possession 5 Remove the tenant with the help of law enforcement

How to file an eviction lawsuit?

File an eviction lawsuit if the tenant fails or refuses to remedy the situation (Pay or Cure) Allow the tenant time to respond to the complaint and summons. Obtain a judgment for possession. Remove the tenant with the help of law enforcement. The process can take a lot of time and the court costs can definitely add up.

What are some examples of evictions?

Examples include tenants who are above a certain age or tenants who have resided at a unit for a set number of years. Landlords will have a hard time evicting protected tenants, and it may even constitute an illegal eviction even if the landlord has a good reason to remove them.

What are the types of unlawful evictions?

A landlord may follow the eviction process to the letter but have unlawful reasons for forcing a tenant out. This can include discriminatory eviction, retaliatory eviction, eviction due to nonpayment of rent ...

How long do you have to file a lawsuit for wrongful eviction?

The wrongful eviction statute of limitations can vary from state to state, but tenants generally have about a year to file a lawsuit.

What is discriminatory eviction?

Discriminatory Eviction. The Fair Housing Act offers protection to certain classes of people, namely race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and/or familial status. When a landlord evicts a tenant because they are a member of a certain class, that is called discriminatory eviction. And, evicting a tenant as a result ...

What is non-economic damages?

Non-economic damages refer to compensation for the pain, suffering, or emotional distress you went through. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are monetary amounts designed to penalize your landlord. This can be as much as two to three times larger than your economic damages, though it depends on where you live.

How to fight an eviction?

The simplest way to fight an eviction is to adhere to the terms of the rental agreement.

What does a landlord do when evicting a tenant?

The landlord files a complaint, which outlines the circumstances for eviction and may request back rent and/or damages. The landlord must serve the tenant with the complaint and a summons, which informs the tenant a lawsuit has been filed.

What is wrongful eviction?

A wrongful eviction occurs when an individual is illegally evicted from their rental property. In most cases, a landlord ignores the rules and laws and takes matters into their own hands. This can occur in many ways, including when a landlord: Changes the locks on the rental;

What is retaliatory eviction?

Retaliatory evictions occur when a landlord evicts a tenant for retaliation. A landlord cannot evict a tenant for exercising their legal rights, such as notifying a health inspector or government entity of unsafe conditions in the rental home or apartment. Retaliatory eviction laws vary by state.

What is eviction in a rental?

Eviction refers to a legal process in which a court orders the removal of a tenant from a rented apartment or home at the request of the landlord. The landlord must have justification for requesting eviction. There are many reasons a landlord may wish to evict a tenant from a rental property. These can include:

What happens at a tenant eviction hearing?

At this hearing, the court will determine whether the landlord provides sufficient evidence to issue the right to evict. The tenant is also permitted to attend the hearing. Following the hearing, the court will issue a decision based on the evidence presented.

What is a pay or quit notice?

Pay or quit; Cure or quit; and. Unconditional quit. A pay or quit notice is provided when a tenant has not paid rent. The landlord puts the tenant on notice that if they do not pay the rent, they will be required to leave. A cure or quit notice is provided when a tenant has violated a term of the lease.