When you’ve been notified of an upcoming eviction from your rental home, dealing with the situation can be extremely stressful and challenging. Although you may feel at a loss and unsure of what step to take next, it’s important to understand your rights during the process. If you are confused by all this, here are a few relevant facts you should know.
If you’ve received a notice of eviction and you think it’s unjust, you still have the option of contesting it in court. Remember, however, that you must file a response to the eviction. Keep a copy of any written notices you receive so you can present them along with your supporting evidence. A verbal notice is not valid, and a landlord cannot legally remove you from the premises without a court order. Harassment of a tenant is also illegal. In other words, your landlord is not allowed to simply change the locks, remove your possessions or turn off the utilities.
Failure to pay the rent when it’s due leads to consequences. All Storage Online explains that if that time is up and you still occupy the home, your landlord can file with the court to have you evicted. You still have to pay your rent for that time period, of course. If you don’t, your landlord can give you a three-day notice to “pay or quit,” and if you don’t pay your rent, they can file a legal eviction after three days.
If you have nowhere to move to, put your belongings in storage and stay with family. Contacting family members and friends for help can provide you with additional time to find another place to live.
Rentec Direct suggests that if you’re being evicted and don’t know where to turn for help, assistance programs and services are available in many areas. In some municipalities or states, legal advice is offered to those who cannot afford it otherwise. You can research local charity organizations that provide assistance with housing, rent, food and other expenses during hardship situations. Community action agencies also exist to help those who are unemployed or who earn low incomes. With the right resources, you can make ends meet and survive until finding another place to live.
Understanding your rights as a tenant can allow you to protect yourself even when you’re in the process of being evicted. If you perform the right research, you can make the process easier and plan for the transition.