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Understanding your rights as a tenant is essential in all aspects of the renting and homeownership process, including situations that could be considered unfavorable, such as eviction.

Eviction is the civil process by which a landlord may legally remove a tenant from their rental property for various reasons. Eviction may occur when a tenant fails to pay rent, when the rental agreement terms are violated, or in other legal situations.

If you are faced with an unexpected eviction notice, you may be overwhelmed by the implications, but there are options for you to protect yourself during these situations. Just because you have received the notice does not mean that you have no other option than to vacate.

Can You Fight an Eviction Notice?

If you have been served an eviction notice from your landlord or mortgage lender, and you want to fight it, there are steps that you can take to protect your chances for success.

The first step to fighting an eviction is to communicate with your landlord and see if the issue can be corrected, if possible, to no longer breach the lease agreement or mortgage agreement. Working out an agreement with your landlord will not be possible in all situations, but can save stress and leave both parties in a compromise if a landlord is satisfied with the resolution.

In situations where this is not possible, or perhaps you are working with a property management group, such as an apartment complex ownership company, it can be imperative for you to file a response to the eviction with the court. This is not required in all states.

When Is a Written Eviction Notice NOT Required?

In states where your landlord is not required to provide you with a written eviction notice, you may not be aware that your landlord has filed an eviction action against you until you receive court papers ordering you to appear for a hearing.

Court hearings can be scheduled within a few days to a few weeks of receiving the notice, and it is essential to attend the court hearing so that a default judgment is not made against you.

Even though you have received a notice for this court hearing, you do not have to leave the premises just yet. That will be later determined by a court judgment either in favor or not in favor of the eviction proceedings.

When Is it Worth Fighting an Eviction?

Fighting an eviction can be difficult. To successfully contest an eviction, you must have a compelling reason for fighting the eviction that is dependent on the state legislation in which the eviction is served.

If you are in any of the following situations, you should fight an eviction if:

  • You are receiving unfair treatment due to protected categories, such as race, gender, disability, or the fact that you have children
  • You are being evicted from government-subsidized housing or a mobile home park
  • You are being evicted because you objected to something the landlord should have done
  • You are being evicted because your landlord did not accept your on-time rent payment

How the Eviction Process Starts

An eviction can be served through an eviction notice issued by a landlord or mortgage lender with the notification of an agreement violation worthy of eviction. In states where an eviction notice is not necessary, a court hearing will be issued.

Usually, eviction notices are served due to some breach of a lease or mortgage agreement. It is important to consider communicating with your landlord or mortgage lender to see if there can be any extensions due to temporary financial hardship.

Typical Flow of the Eviction Process

  1. Receive notice of eviction

A notice of eviction will be served to the tenant, indicating the need for the premises to be vacated. If a tenant violates a lease agreement, the landlord may have the right to terminate the contract and serve an eviction notice.

  1. Filing of court Papers

Your landlord can file court eviction papers at the end of the time period specified in your eviction notice. This type of court case is known as a "Forcible Entry and Detainer". Your landlord must have a Summons and Complaint served on you by a Deputy Sheriff.

The officer must then make a good faith effort to hand-deliver the papers at least three times on three different days. If that fails, the landlord may mail you the notice and leave a copy at your home, where you are likely to find it (such as posting on your door). The landlord must then file an affidavit in court swearing to the steps they took to notify you.

  1. Eviction by Court Judgement

After the hearing, the court will decide if the eviction will take place. If the court decides that you should be evicted, your landlord has the right to evict you. You have the right to appeal if you go to court and lose.

After seven days, if you lose and do not appeal, the Deputy Sheriff will serve you with a "Writ of Possession". This is the court's eviction order. You will then have 48 hours to leave.

How to Win an Eviction Case

If you decide to fight an eviction, your toolbox of strategies should include the following:

  • Hire a lawyer: It is difficult to win an eviction case alone. For assistance, contact a legal aid organization. If you hire a lawyer, follow their instructions. If you cannot obtain legal representation, you must prepare for the hearing yourself.
  • Get ready for the hearing: Gather proof, such as receipts and photographs. It may also be advantageous to invite witnesses to accompany you to court and testify on your behalf.
  • In the courtroom: When the hearing begins, your landlord speaks first. When it's your turn, speak up for yourself, but do not interrupt the judge or anyone else. Share evidence, and let your witnesses share their information.

Dealing with an eviction notice can be stressful, but there are steps to be taken that can help you navigate this situation and prevent you from being wrongfully evicted.

Understanding your rights as a tenant is essential in all aspects of the renting and homeownership process, including situations that could be considered unfavorable, such as eviction.

Eviction is the civil process by which a landlord may legally remove a tenant from their rental property for various reasons. Eviction may occur when a tenant fails to pay rent, when the rental agreement terms are violated, or in other legal situations.

If you are faced with an unexpected eviction notice, you may be overwhelmed by the implications, but there are options for you to protect yourself during these situations. Just because you have received the notice does not mean that you have no other option than to vacate.

Can You Fight an Eviction Notice?

If you have been served an eviction notice from your landlord or mortgage lender, and you want to fight it, there are steps that you can take to protect your chances for success.

The first step to fighting an eviction is to communicate with your landlord and see if the issue can be corrected, if possible, to no longer breach the lease agreement or mortgage agreement. Working out an agreement with your landlord will not be possible in all situations, but can save stress and leave both parties in a compromise if a landlord is satisfied with the resolution.

In situations where this is not possible, or perhaps you are working with a property management group, such as an apartment complex ownership company, it can be imperative for you to file a response to the eviction with the court. This is not required in all states.

When Is a Written Eviction Notice NOT Required?

In states where your landlord is not required to provide you with a written eviction notice, you may not be aware that your landlord has filed an eviction action against you until you receive court papers ordering you to appear for a hearing.

Court hearings can be scheduled within a few days to a few weeks of receiving the notice, and it is essential to attend the court hearing so that a default judgment is not made against you.

Even though you have received a notice for this court hearing, you do not have to leave the premises just yet. That will be later determined by a court judgment either in favor or not in favor of the eviction proceedings.

When Is it Worth Fighting an Eviction?

Fighting an eviction can be difficult. To successfully contest an eviction, you must have a compelling reason for fighting the eviction that is dependent on the state legislation in which the eviction is served.

If you are in any of the following situations, you should fight an eviction if:

  • You are receiving unfair treatment due to protected categories, such as race, gender, disability, or the fact that you have children
  • You are being evicted from government-subsidized housing or a mobile home park
  • You are being evicted because you objected to something the landlord should have done
  • You are being evicted because your landlord did not accept your on-time rent payment

How the Eviction Process Starts

An eviction can be served through an eviction notice issued by a landlord or mortgage lender with the notification of an agreement violation worthy of eviction. In states where an eviction notice is not necessary, a court hearing will be issued.

Usually, eviction notices are served due to some breach of a lease or mortgage agreement. It is important to consider communicating with your landlord or mortgage lender to see if there can be any extensions due to temporary financial hardship.

Typical Flow of the Eviction Process

  1. Receive notice of eviction

A notice of eviction will be served to the tenant, indicating the need for the premises to be vacated. If a tenant violates a lease agreement, the landlord may have the right to terminate the contract and serve an eviction notice.

  1. Filing of court Papers

Your landlord can file court eviction papers at the end of the time period specified in your eviction notice. This type of court case is known as a "Forcible Entry and Detainer". Your landlord must have a Summons and Complaint served on you by a Deputy Sheriff.

The officer must then make a good faith effort to hand-deliver the papers at least three times on three different days. If that fails, the landlord may mail you the notice and leave a copy at your home, where you are likely to find it (such as posting on your door). The landlord must then file an affidavit in court swearing to the steps they took to notify you.

  1. Eviction by Court Judgement

After the hearing, the court will decide if the eviction will take place. If the court decides that you should be evicted, your landlord has the right to evict you. You have the right to appeal if you go to court and lose.

After seven days, if you lose and do not appeal, the Deputy Sheriff will serve you with a "Writ of Possession". This is the court's eviction order. You will then have 48 hours to leave.

How to Win an Eviction Case

If you decide to fight an eviction, your toolbox of strategies should include the following:

  • Hire a lawyer: It is difficult to win an eviction case alone. For assistance, contact a legal aid organization. If you hire a lawyer, follow their instructions. If you cannot obtain legal representation, you must prepare for the hearing yourself.
  • Get ready for the hearing: Gather proof, such as receipts and photographs. It may also be advantageous to invite witnesses to accompany you to court and testify on your behalf.
  • In the courtroom: When the hearing begins, your landlord speaks first. When it's your turn, speak up for yourself, but do not interrupt the judge or anyone else. Share evidence, and let your witnesses share their information.

Dealing with an eviction notice can be stressful, but there are steps to be taken that can help you navigate this situation and prevent you from being wrongfully evicted.