Receiving an eviction notice can be an immense source of stress and anxiety. As a tenant, it is essential to know your rights. Often, an eviction notice does not mean that you have to move out of your home immediately.
The eviction process is challenging, expensive, and often emotionally painful for the party that is being evicted. Eviction laws and regulations vary from state to state. The eviction method is also governed by local law, lease terms, federal law, common law, and court rules. However, there are a few general rules on eviction that may help you better understand your circumstances and how to navigate them.
1. A Landlord Must Provide A Tenant With Valid Reasoning
Not only do landlords have to have a valid reason for evicting you, but they must provide you with an explanation of that reasoning. If there is a way to solve the issues outlined in the description, resolution instructions should also be enclosed. The legal eviction process will not begin until you have failed to resolve the problems in the time frame given in your eviction notice.
One of the most common time frames associated with eviction notice is a thirty-day grace period. Since state and local laws play a role in specific eviction processes, your circumstances may vary. When you receive an eviction notice, the best thing to do is to read it carefully to identify why you are being evicted, if there is a probable solution, and how long you have to correct the problem.
2. There Are Rules In Place Against Landlord Retaliation
As mentioned above, eviction laws vary by state. However, in almost all states, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant for any action within their legal rights. Examples of possible lawful activities that a landlord may attempt to retaliate against include complaints to building inspectors, health inspectors, or any governmental agency regarding unsafe or unlawful legal conditions.
Exercising your First Amendment right by organizing or joining a tenant union, for example, are not lawful grounds for eviction. Anti-retaliation laws offer general protection but do fluctuate based on state statutes. The best way to protect yourself in the eviction process is by researching your local rights or consulting with a legal professional.
3. Unconditional Quit Notices must fit certain guidelines.
In extreme cases, an eviction notice will not have a time frame or any conditions that can rectify the grounds under which you are evicted. These notices are called Unconditional Quit Notices. If you have received this type of eviction notice, the landlord still needs to provide you with a reason.
In many states, they are unlawful unless you have repeatedly violated your rental agreement, severely damaged the property, or engaged in illegal activity on the premises. If you have not violated any significant terms and have dutifully fulfilled your rent payments, your Unconditional Quit Notice may not be valid.
4. Proper Service Does Not Make Or Break The Eviction Process.
A common misconception regarding the eviction process is that they can be invalidated if the tenant does not acknowledge service. Conversely, a notice of eviction can be served to you or a person of suitable age and discretion in your household. Posting a notice on your door or sending it in the mail is also a valid service form. Incorrect service of an eviction notice does not affect the time frame in which you have to act upon it.
The most common causes for eviction include nonpayment of rent, violation of the lease agreement. These offenses are typically reversible. Since the process of eviction brings unnecessary expenses upon the landlord, it may be beneficial for both parties to negotiate a solution. If the COVID-19 moratorium on eviction previously protected you and has now been lifted in your area, you will have to pay any accumulated back-rent associated with this grace period.
It can be difficult to navigate an eviction without the help of a trusted legal professional. However, retaining legal services is an additional expense many people in this position cannot manage. Try utilizing free online resources like freeadvice.com to help guide you in the right direction.