Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Eviction proceedings can be severely stressful, frustrating, and sometimes patently unlawful. It is important for a tenant faced with eviction proceedings to know his or her rights and responsibilities in order to take the right action. There may be several ways to stop eviction proceedings based on local law and the individual circumstances.
The first step in eviction proceedings is a notice of eviction. This is typically served at the residence and will indicate the reason for eviction and the move-out date. Common reasons for eviction include failure to pay rent, damage or misuse of property, or the occurrence of crime on the property. From this point, a tenant must act quickly to stop eviction proceedings.
In many cases, eviction serves as a serious threat to correct behavior or bring accounts up to date. Many landlords do not want to have to go through the process of eviction and then the long ordeal of finding new tenants; they may stop eviction proceedings if a deal can be reached. If possible, talk with the landlord about the situation and try to work out an agreement. If a serious emergency has left a tenant temporarily cash-strapped, be honest with the landlord and offer to pay interest on the late rent. If a tenant has caused property damage or violated a lease clause, try to fix the problem rather than agree to the eviction. As a precaution, get all agreements in writing and send an email summarizing any phone conversations so as to establish a written record.
If the landlord is attempting to evict a tenant unlawfully, get legal advice immediately. Landlord/tenant laws vary extensively from region to region, and an expert may be needed just to let a tenant know if the procedure is unlawful and worthy of a court battle. Consult local or court-run legal aid societies for low cost or free advice and references to low cost lawyers. Try to read up on all local laws that may be involved, and consider visiting a library or bookstore for reference material on landlord/tenant laws in the region.
If discussion is impossible and the tenant has mitigating reasons for avoiding eviction, a court case can stop eviction proceedings. Usually, a tenant can file a lawsuit against the landlord, or can wait for the term of eviction to expire and respond to a landlord's legal complaint. If going to court becomes the only option, it is vital to maintain accurate documentation on all agreements and conversations with the landlord as well as provide other evidence for the judge. If a tenant is withholding rent because an apartment is uninhabitable due to ill repair, provide photographic evidence. If a landlord has refused to provide adequate security measures, get police reports about crime in the neighborhood or bring witnesses from the property.
Ultimately, a judge may decide in favor of either the landlord or the tenant. While doing everything legally possible to stop eviction proceedings, it is important to consider future plans should the judgment go for the landlord. Contact friends or local assistance organizations to arrange temporary shelter in case of eviction, and consider scouting out new properties during the legal proceedings.
I have rented apartments for most of my adult life, and I can usually tell which landlords are likely to pursue eviction proceedings and which are open to negotiations. Whenever possible, I sought out private landlords with only one or two rental properties. They tend to dread the idea of sending out a legal eviction notice to otherwise good tenants. I managed to stop eviction processes a few times by volunteering to do free maintenance and repair jobs for my elderly landlords.
If you live in a corporate apartment complex with professional management, however, it can be more difficult to stop eviction proceedings. These managers are not afraid to pursue eviction proceedings, and they will follow every legal step
in that process.
The only way I managed to stop the eviction process was to borrow enough money from friends and family to get my rent current. It hurt my dignity to have to borrow the money, but legal evictions make it harder to find other housing. I suggest if you are in any position at all to generate the rent money, do it as soon as possible so it will not become a court matter.
I once got an eviction notice from my landlord, whom I had known for over ten years at the time. I knew I was a month or two behind on my rent, but he usually gave me plenty of time to catch up and make one larger payment. This time he actually taped the eviction notice letter to my door while I was at work.
I called him at his office the next morning and asked him why he decided to start eviction proceedings. He said he was in a financial predicament himself and he couldn't afford to be as lenient with tenants as he had been. He didn't like sending out 30 day eviction notices, but he felt
he had no other choice. If I came up with at least half of the back rent, he'd tear up that notice right away.
I have found that one way to stop eviction proceedings is to have a very honest conversation with your landlord. Instead of just saying "work's been slow" or "I had other bills to pay first", be honest and admit your budgeting skills need work. Make a solid financial arrangement with your landlord, even if it means sacrificing other things. The sooner you pay off the back rent, the more likely your landlord will stop the eviction process.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!