It’s a sad truth that tenants facing an eviction likely don’t have the help of a lawyer, but their landlord does. Finding the right eviction lawyer with great service and affordable pricing is vital for any tenant. Most eviction lawyers can help you with financing, can offer discounted rates, or provide free eviction advice. If you’re a tenant being wrongfully evicted, this article will help you know everything you need to know about your tenant rights.
Tenants become devastated by evictions in more ways than one. An eviction can ruin your credit, displace you and your family, and lower your chances of finding a new home. To find an eviction lawyer near you and to get free estimates, call My Case Helper at any time.
Federal eviction update March 28, 2021: Currently, the CDC has released an official no eviction order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If tenants are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 related reasons, a landlord cannot pursue eviction until June 30, 2021. To learn more about the COVID-19 no-eviction order, read our full article.
What Is An Eviction
An eviction is an official government notice that tells all dwelling residents to:
- Stop doing something that goes against the rental agreement.
- Vacate the premises immediately.
There are 3 types of eviction notices. Landlords must apply for an unconditional eviction notice, a notice requiring tenants to vacate the property, with the local court to be legally binding. A landlord must also have just cause to evict a tenant, such as violating the rental agreement.
Common violations include:
- Not paying rent on time or for a certain amount of time.
- Violating a term that goes against the current agreement.
- Causing substantial damage to the property.
- Refusing to move out after a lease has expired.
Evictions can stay on your personal record for 7 years. All debts and collections you’ve fallen behind on are also listed on your credit report, but the eviction itself is not. Tenants should try to work off any eviction debts as soon as possible and contact a credit counselor for assistance.
Most landlords and property managers will automatically decline any tenant application with an eviction on it. If you have an eviction on your record or are currently facing one, call a lawyer and a credit counselor to start absolving your debt.
Also Read: What Are Tenant Rights?
How Eviction Works
Landlords must follow very specific guidelines to legally evict a tenant. Otherwise, the eviction may be void. Despite the system actively working against tenants, you do have rights and your landlord must respect them.
There are some general guidelines that protect all tenants. Your state and local governments will have even more laws and regulations that also protect you. This includes laws on:
- What a landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for.
- How a landlord can apply for eviction and how the notice must be served.
- The type of eviction notice or the process of eviction notices.
A landlord cannot evict a tenant without a court order. In order for the eviction to be legal, the landlord must:
- Have a just cause to evict a tenant, such as failure to pay rent.
- Apply for the eviction through a local court and serve the notice in a timely manner.
- Respect personal property and cannot physically force a tenant to leave.
- Return necessary deposits in a timely manner.
If your landlord violates any of your rights, call an eviction lawyer. As a tenant, you also have the right to sue your landlord for creating an unsafe living space or violating your rights.
In addition to your local and state tenancy laws, you should also look into local housing advocacy groups, tenant unions, and your own rental agreement for support. If you cannot afford an eviction lawyer, you can always request a consultation for coaching and help finding these groups. If you need to speak to a lawyer right away, call My Case Helper to request a free consultation.
Eviction Lawyer Cost
Most eviction lawyers charge by an hourly rate. Depending on where you live and how complex your case is, an eviction lawyer can charge you anywhere from $500 to $20,000. If the case needs to settle in court, you’ll also have to pay additional court fees.
Check your rental agreement for a legal fees clause. This clause may allow you to be reimbursed for some or all of your legal expenses. Landlords include a section like this in rental agreements to discourage frivolous lawsuits. If there is any type of legal clause in your rental agreement, call an eviction lawyer and have them look it over upon consultation.
Having this clause may actually encourage an eviction lawyer to take on your case. Be sure to fully disclose all pricing issues with any lawyer you meet with.
What To Do If You’re Being Evicted
If you are served an eviction notice, you don’t need to panic right away. Normally, an initial eviction notice will ask a tenant to resolve any violations against the rental agreement. For example, you may have started smoking in your apartment, but your agreement clearly states the property is smoke-free. Contact your landlord to try and resolve the issue or any misunderstandings.
If you’re served an unconditional eviction, contact a lawyer right away. You can fight your eviction, but you may have to go to court. A county clerk will send both you and your landlord a summons to appear for a hearing. It’s vital that tenants work with their eviction lawyer during this time to gather evidence. The hearing determines whether to rule in favor of the landlord or tenant.
If the court rules in favor of the tenant, they can continue living on the property. The landlord may also be subject to pay for all the tenant’s legal fees. On the other hand, if the court rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant will have around a week to vacate the property.
If you’re having issues with your landlord, call My Case Helper at any time to request a free consultation with an eviction lawyer near you. You can also use our free resources to learn more about your rights as a tenant.
Also Read: 5 Signs You Should Hire A Tenant Lawyer