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How to Fight an Eviction Notice

How to Fight an Eviction Notice

The law requires a landlord to serve an eviction notice to a tenant in case he no longer wants the tenant to occupy his premises. However, tenants also have the right to contest an eviction if they feel that their eviction is not justified.
Rahul Pandita
Returning home one day and finding an eviction notice on your doorstep can be an unpleasant experience for you. An eviction notice is issued by the landlords to notify the time-frame by which a tenant should evict the premises. The laws regarding the eviction notice vary from state to state, and what might be applicable in one state may not hold true in another. Eviction notices usually give a tenant a time-frame of 30 - 60 days to evict the premises, (varies with state), however there are certain circumstances in which the tenant is served a 3 day notice to evict as well. If you have received an eviction letter, and feel that the reasons for your eviction are discriminatory and unjustified, you are within your rights to contest the eviction notice.

Responding to an Eviction Notice

The first thing that you should do when you receive an eviction notice is to check whether the notice is legal or whether the landlord is trying to take the shorter route to get you to leave his building. When you are sure that the eviction notice is legal, you can then take necessary steps to respond to it.

Study the Lease Agreement
Lease agreement is the contract that you sign with the landlord when you first take up the said premises on rent. The lease agreement carries all the important rules that a tenant has to abide by. If you feel that the cause of your eviction is not specified in the lease agreement, you are well within your rights to contest the eviction notice. For example, if your landlord had promised you that he will carry out the renovation of the apartment but has failed to do so despite repeated requests, you may be justified in withholding your rent. These are some things that can make your case stronger, so it is extremely vital that you read your lease agreement carefully.

Hire an Attorney
When you are confident that the landlord is evicting you for unjustifiable reasons, you can take the help of an attorney. It is important that you produce all the evidence to your attorney including the lease agreement, your rent receipts, and a copy of the eviction notice. Your attorney will represent you in the court, but you will be called to testify in the case.

It is highly unlikely that the court will come up with a ruling in the first setting itself, so it is important that you follow-up on the case without missing a single hearing. It will take a lot of planning from your side to be able to manage your professional and personal life. It is extremely crucial that you track the case because in many cases, the court decides in the favor of the landlord just because the tenant fails to show up.

Out-of-Court Settlement

Although, the law has the provision to settle landlord-tenant disputes, it is advisable to both the tenants and the landlord to reach an out-of-court settlement. It saves a lot of time and money and prevents both the parties from getting into an imbroglio. Most of the eviction notices are sent because of non-payment of rent, and if this is one of the reasons for which you have got an eviction notice, you can have a discussion with the landlord about the financial difficulties that you have been facing. You can work out a repayment plan with your landlord, and request the landlord to give you some more time to clear all the pending dues. Also, it is advisable to keep your landlord informed about why you are failing to pay up on time, so that he is not forced to take legal action against you. However, this does not mean that you shy away from fighting for your rights if you feel that the landlord has sent you an eviction notice for something that is totally unjustified.

It is very important for a tenant to respond to an eviction notice as negligence can make your case weaker and allow the landlord to evict you with the help of law-enforcement agencies. In order to prevent such a situation, it is necessary that you take all the necessary steps involved in contesting an eviction notice.