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What Do I Do if I Am Getting Evicted?

If a tenant believes he or she is getting evicted illegally, it is important to contact a legal expert immediately.
A notice of eviction posted on an apartment door.
Family shelters offer lodging for women and children who become homeless after an eviction.
Someone who gets evicted runs the risk of becoming homeless if they can't find another place to live, such as a shelter.
In California, landlords can issue a three-day eviction to tenants who commit domestic abuse.
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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2014
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Eviction is the enforced removal of a tenant from a property. Being evicted can be a traumatic and frustrating experience, and may even sometimes be an illegal attempt to throw a law-abiding person from his or her home. If a person is getting evicted against his or her will, it is important to gain a full understanding of the reasons for the eviction and explore possible solutions.

Nearly every region has very specific laws about what constitutes grounds for eviction. Both tenants and landlords have certain rights and responsibilities to a rented property. Usually, but not always, a landlord cannot evict a tenant unless the tenant has broken rental or lease terms. For this reason, it is extremely important to get a copy of the lease or rental agreement out as soon as an eviction notice is served, to see what clauses may have been violated. Common reasons for eviction include failure to pay rent, destruction of the property, or criminal activity on the property.

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In most cases, a notice of eviction gives a tenant a certain amount of time to move out or fix the issues. Often, such as in cases where rent is late or unpaid, the eviction notice may be rescinded if the tenant pays the amount owed. It is important to try and discuss options with the landlord when getting evicted; if a job loss or family crisis has left a tenant temporarily cash-strapped, the landlord may be willing to give the tenant more time to find the money. Legal experts often strongly suggest trying to solve the problem with the landlord peacefully, rather than resorting to threats of lawsuits or more serious action.

There are some cases where the fault causing an eviction is considered not fixable. In California, for example, a landlord can force a three-day eviction if a tenant commits domestic abuse or deals drugs on the premises. While it is usually recommended that a tenant seek legal advice when getting evicted, in cases where the landlord is acting within the parameters of the law and the fault is irreparable, the tenant may have no choice but to move out. If a person is getting evicted and has no money to move to another place, contact local human services departments or charitable organizations that provide shelter for temporarily homeless people. Getting evicted and having no place to go is also an understandable reason to call on the aid of friends and relatives.

If a tenant believes he or she is getting evicted illegally, it is important to contact a legal expert immediately. Either hire a lawyer or contact local low-cost legal aid societies for advice and possibly representation. Research the local tenant/landlord laws to discover if the eviction is truly illegal, or merely seems unfair. If a tenant is being evicted illegally, the landlord may back down when he or she realizes the tenant is going to raise a legal ruckus. Even a consultation and a letter of intended action from a lawyer may be enough to get a bullying landlord to back down.

It is not unheard of for landlords to try and kick out tenants for ridiculous, selfish, or groundless reasons, but it is also not unusual for tenants to be equally unreasonable. Some legal experts recommend that a tenant trust the actual law in the area to determine who is right or wrong, and try to leave personal issues out of the situation. Screaming and shouting at a landlord will be very unlikely to solve a problem, but following legal procedures can be far more efficient. If an eviction is truly illegal, legal assistance may be the best way to prevent it from occurring.

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