Times are tough right now. If you cannot afford your rent and are in danger of getting evicted, find out what you can do.
What is an eviction?
An eviction is a legal action taken by a landlord to remove a renter from a house, apartment or room. State laws have specific requirements that landlords have to follow. Landlords must write an eviction notice and deliver it to the tenant.
If you’re being evicted, you’ll first receive a termination notice
. If you receive this notice, make sure you’ve done all that you can to pay your rent. You can try talking to your landlord or contacting local housing organizations that may be able to help. Get more information on what to do if you can’t pay you rent.
What happens next?
If you don’t move out, agree to pay the rent, or stop violating a condition of the rental agreement (for example, no pets, excessive noise, illegal activities, etc.), you will receive a summons and complaint for eviction.
If you receive an eviction notice, you should contact a lawyer immediately. Follow instructions to file paperwork with the Clerk of Court so you don’t lose the case.
Do you have to move out if your landlord says he is going to evict you?
Even if you haven’t paid your rent, the only way a landlord can force you to leave your apartment is by evicting you. The landlord has to win the eviction in court before you need to move out. Even if the landlord wins the case, you may be able to ask to stay longer if you pay the rent that you owe. If the landlord hasn’t started the eviction process, you can try to negotiate with him or her. Make sure you pay your rent by check or money order and get a receipt.
What are your rights if you are getting evicted?
Your rights depend on the type of lease you have and the reason for the eviction. You may be able to defend yourself if:
- You offered to pay the rent before the eviction began
- The landlord accepted payment after the eviction began
- The apartment was in an unsafe or unhealthy condition
- You complained to the landlord or to an agency before the eviction began
- The landlord didn’t give you a notice of the eviction, or
- You or someone in your family is elderly, disabled and lives in a building with five or more units
Your landlord may not evict you:
- Based on your age, sex, race, ethnicity, religion or other causes related to discrimination
- By shutting off utilities, taking your belongings or changing the locks
- Because you complained against the landlord
- Because the landlord disapproves of certain legal activities that you are involved in