5 Ways Tenants Can Fight an Eviction Notice

in Help Me Now!, Legal Issues on by
An eviction notice lays in an open doorway.

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, frustration and poverty continue to increase exponentially. For the last few months, tenants in many parts of the country were protected from being evicted for non-payment of rent by emergency government measures. Unfortunately, that security is quickly disappearing — and in most cases, it’s already expired.

Being behind on rent with limited or non-existent resources is stressful to say the least. Receiving an eviction notice doubles that anxiety. But before you start loading up a shopping cart with your belongings and looking for a storage unit to sleep in, you should seriously explore your defense options:

Use Government Resources

All states have unique statutes and laws regarding eviction, so your best bet is to do some research and find out what they are where you live so you can fight back accordingly. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development website has a comprehensive list of each state’s laws regarding the rights and limitations of tenants and landlords. Likewise, if your home is part of a government-subsidized housing program, there may be additional resources to help you during eviction procedures, whether they’ve been implemented for non-payment or other reasons.

Go Through the Eviction Procedure Details

State, county, and city jurisdictions typically have laws that are very specific regarding eviction procedures. Your landlord must strictly follow these procedures for the eviction to be legal and enforceable. If you are being evicted for non-payment, in most cases, the landlord first must inform you in writing how much rent is due and what date it must be received by.

In most states, there are also very concise guidelines regarding the way you’re presented with the eviction documents, and exactly how long you have to reply to them. If your landlord fails to meet any of these requirements, their eviction may be dismissed, meaning they have to start over with the whole process. In many cases, they have to wait a month to restart the procedure, which can buy you some more time to come up with a payment plan.

Keep in mind, however, that if your lease has expired, or if you only have a verbal lease agreement, the landlord can simply give you a written eviction notice. Often a landlord is only required to give a renter a notice to vacate corresponding with the rent payment schedule. For instance, if your rent is paid every two months, the request has to give you two months to move. If you disregard the request, the landlord is permitted to proceed with eviction procedures.

Get Legal Help

If you can’t pay your rent, it’s doubtful that you have the money to hire a private attorney. Luckily, most cities or counties have legal aid and tenant rights associations that provide legal advice free of charge. Take advantage of any pro bono help you can get. Just be sure to collect any information you have regarding your rental property, including voicemails, texts, emails, letters, pictures, receipts, lease agreements, notices, and cancelled checks, before reaching out to the pros. 

Throw Yourself at the Mercy of The Landlord

A couple pleads with their landlord as they try to figure out a way to make future payments.

This option sounds corny and humiliating because it is — but when you’re trying to keep a roof over your head, desperate measures are sometimes required. If you have children, point out to the landlord what the hardship of eviction would do to their lives. Point out what a good tenant you’ve been and that you paid your rent on time for months or years (if this is actually the case, of course). Show the landlord paycheck stubs proving that you and/or your partner are sincerely trying to make ends meet. Suggest a payment schedule you can handle, no matter how small the payments, to at least open up negotiations. Ask if there are any chores on the rental properties you could do to lower your past due balance. 

Don’t Dawdle

Whatever your situation, don’t just ignore the eviction notice. Check and doublecheck the document date, including the one for the actual eviction, the court date, and, most importantly, the date by which you must notify the court that you want a hearing. Contact people who may be able to help, and be relentless about it. Whether it’s your sister who lives 2,000 miles away who might give you a loan, a legal aid contact who hasn’t returned your call, or that food delivery gig company that you haven’t heard from since you submitted your application, you can’t give up. As long as you put the work in and state your case honestly, you should be able to at least come to some kind of a tolerable agreement. 

23 Responses to “5 Ways Tenants Can Fight an Eviction Notice”

  1. November 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm, Anm said:

    Iebed was evicted.two years ago went to court. Apt managers would not accept. Money for rent but they did accept money from me to stay in apt for 2 weeks. a
    I had problems as plumber. Came out. Fixed problem. Aptest had. And forgot to put pipe on correctly. Flooded everywhere. They are during me for not cleaning. Apt plus court. Costs and lawyer. Is they anyway to go back and get evict off my credit. Also never received deposit. Back. Thank you for your time.

    Reply

    • January 31, 2021 at 1:40 pm, John Doe said:

      > DO you know how to speak and type English?

      Reply

  2. November 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm, Anm said:

    Also management. Would. Never fix other maintenance. Problems. I always put it in writing

    Reply

  3. April 28, 2013 at 10:24 am, Bob said:

    Most states favor the landlord. Therefore, in the eviction hearing the case is all but decided before the hearing begins. It is essentially a “rubber stamp” in favor of the landlord/property manager. Exceptions to this are New York and California.

    Reply

  4. November 17, 2016 at 8:18 am, Sammy said:

    Go to the kand-ten court and get I forms ion from clercks from people get used to the system. If you sick get notes or letter from the drs. From your hobs even from friends saying you need help. Go to court do not miss for any reason the appointment

    Reply

  5. August 24, 2020 at 4:27 pm, Elizabeth Podolak said:

    I live in west virginia I recieve hud housing im 2 weeks late on my rent and my landlord is saying I was breaking in entering my basement the door was already unlocked my fuse box is in the basement i needed to get to it.I have been paying her extra money in rent that hud was unaware of can I beat this.

    Reply

  6. September 25, 2020 at 3:14 pm, Robert Fenk said:

    I meet all of the CDC requirements. Also I don't know how to initiate the process. My wife is dead, therefore I lost my rent income. I am also elderly and disabled. I need help or advice. I will be living in my car so my life will be endangered due to the virus and the violence of the streets.

    This old man will not survive this situation.

    Reply

    • October 31, 2020 at 11:07 am, Stephani A Vangos said:

      > Not sure if you got the information already or not but if you go to the CDC website there is a form you need to print and sign its called a "Declaration" as long as you meet the criteria the eviction should not go any further then yes you will owe for any rent not paid but they can not make you leave until after December 31st.

      Reply

  7. October 01, 2020 at 1:03 pm, Susan Perez said:

    I have a friend staying with me he is about to be on my lease will I get in trouble if he is here while waiting to be put on lease

    Reply

  8. October 10, 2020 at 10:23 am, Lorie Goodwin said:

    I have a question. I'm disabled and I'm being belittlied by. Property managers. and harass about my passed due rent. What rights do I have to protect myself .and I was told because of the cov19 renters are saved from eviction.please someone talk to me 😢

    Reply

  9. October 15, 2020 at 2:27 pm, cammi said:

    I have a question if my child get to get into a fight with another child at the apartments does that qualify for me to get evicted

    Reply

  10. November 18, 2020 at 12:41 pm, Kimberly said:

    I am being wrongly evicted. My property manager is retaliating against me. Because I know the illegal things she is doing. I’m a disabled person with breathing problems. She is using my service dog to get the eviction. This is a subsidized apartment.

    Reply

  11. November 18, 2020 at 1:29 pm, Darrnisha said:

    I am 22 y.o. I need advice on what to do. 1 When I first moved in someone cut the screens off my windows and tried to break in. I told my landlord she never got the screens replaced. 2 last month the leasing office stole almost everyone’s rent And they were trying to make us pay for a 2nd time. but me being the first concerned person I was accused of reversing the transaction but I quickly got in contact with cashapp. 3 when the money came up missing and the accountant was accusing me of stealing the money I have emails showing I repeatedly asked for her supervisors number to speak with him she refused. I know right there my rights were violated as a tenant. 4 my apartment was flooded with ankle deep water and I had to call the fire department and everything the chief came out and i have been to construction school so I know mold is starting to grow. Water inside the wall was surrounding my electricity breaker box. They didn’t care enough to move me. I was literally left a letter on a Friday on my door so I couldn’t contact nobody. 5 they won’t let me speak to anyone except the accountant I’m so confused someone help.

    Reply

    • January 16, 2021 at 4:47 pm, Alice Marie Banks said:

      > MY “RANT” ABOUT THE CASE WITH ME AND MY LANDLORD
      Hello my dear, I'm sort of in the same boat, 65 year old, partial disabaled with (SLE) Lupus, history of Heart and Stroke with 2 untreated holes in my heart and one closed with a device. etc. etc.
      I'm defenitely not an expert but I just want to reach out to you because I do understand and I don't want you to feel

      Reply

  12. December 04, 2020 at 5:10 am, Lakea M Reese said:

    I am being evicted for non payment/ late payment of rent .. I applied for chn and a prc but the prc hasn’t come through yet! My work just messed up my hours for the third time which is the reason for my eviction. My court date is today and I don’t have my payment that I told my land lord I would pay today… what should I do?

    Reply

    • December 29, 2020 at 12:51 am, Marshall said:

      > what did they do for you in court. Im in the same boat I only have half of the money.

      Reply

  13. December 07, 2020 at 7:58 am, Jean Bowen said:

    My mother is being taken to court for back rent. Her husband died and lost part of her income and he handled the Bill's. He let it go and now is behind several months. What do I do. With the rent. And stop the eviction. I will be homeless with out this place. I'm at DSS now asking for them to cover the arrears. I dont kow if there going to .

    Reply

  14. January 02, 2021 at 5:01 pm, Terri knowles said:

    Lived with dad as caregiver for past 3 yes.willed his home to us it is a Mobil home Tried to pay land lord he refused .Tryed to come to an agreement pior to dad's passing to no avail . Only problem we have had was parking issues we are not on lease .wanted to stay long enough to sale and move on his lawyer sent us this vac in 3 days pay all back rent which we tried he wouldn't accept. Still have and sign the home over to him. That's absurd. He also stated that we were not wanted to come to an aggreement . Not true we weren't want to agree with his demands.Help me we have done nothing to deserve this he just wants to take possession of this trailer.

    Reply

  15. January 18, 2021 at 3:24 pm, Shannon said:

    I have a question I live at home with my disabled mom, she’s wheelchair bound and disabled brother too. My 80 year old grandma and my son who has seizures have lived in our house for 15 years and my landlord told us when he bought our house he liked the fact that one family lived here and paid rent regularly would not like us to move. Talk to us about renewing lease Jan 1 then when Jan came he told us he would like us out in 2 months? He never gave anything in writing to us just by word of text message from my aunt Is this legal? Also he wants to take away our garages and turn into apartments but our washer and dryer are in them? Also the garages were part of our lease and there’s no notice up of him turning our garages into apartments which he Gave us one month to clean out which I was using to store all the hospital equipment that my mom uses. I need to know is any of this legal?

    Reply

  16. January 19, 2021 at 5:39 pm, Leslie Gray said:

    I have a question. I have lived at my rental apartment for 3 years. In those three years I was maybe late once and when I say late, rent is due the 1st of every month and after the 5th of the month it’s late and that particular month I believe I paid rent and late fee on the 10th of the same month. I live in Georgia I haven’t worked since March 2020 however I managed to still pay my rent throughout 2020 until they cut off my unemployment with no reason, phone call or email and that haven’t denied me. So September 2020 Rolls around and I am now late on my rent so I can’t remember exactly what the date was I would have to look at my receipts but I paid September‘s rent in the $50 late fee within the month of September before the end of September OK same thing in October November the landlord called and said that she was giving us a free month free months rent merry Christmas December 1 she called she told us in November that she would be around December 1 with the lease OK didn’t hear from her didn’t hear from her since December rows around and I’m like them to now I’ve paid all my rent in the white face everything has been paid I have not missed a payment so I offered her half of the rent which would be $250 she declined it and she I know you need it so just keep it OK well after that conversation which was in a text message to weeks later I got a letter in the mail stating to where she was going to turn it over to a rental company whoever would be managing it OK no problem two weeks after that she sent me with an addiction notice that I have 60 days I guess apparently she’s not going to renew the lease so which is going to leave me and my kids homeless because I can’t afford the rent that is out there and there’s not that many places to rent and I still have a child in school so what are my rights can she rightfully make me get out after the 60 days and file an evection with the court I would be homeless and so with my kids

    Reply

  17. February 02, 2021 at 5:28 pm, Terri said:

    I got an eviction notice and they lied about me. I haven't been able to get a good night sleep for about a year because a neighbor talks all night and bangs the wall, etc.
    They said I'm a nuisance and I need to be quiet from 9pm until 9 am!

    Reply

    • February 18, 2021 at 3:55 pm, Susan said:

      > unreal that's not right,mine keeps telling me he's gonna evicted me just to be an ass telling me I'm preijuste,it was very quiet here until they moved in.so he,s favorite them I don't know what to do I don't have money to move.

      Reply

  18. February 27, 2021 at 2:02 pm, Carlos said:

    Apartments changed ownership begining of February i payed rent with money order in security mailbox on 4th of feb no one was in office for 2 weeks i have money order recipt stub btw. Mid feb new staffs in office the claim they have not recieved febs rent from me or other tenants & mailbox was physical removed. They say i have 400$ balance due which is imposible because when i paid jans rent the hand written reciept from land lotdcsaid amount owed payed & below it says balance remaining or owed 0$ i among other tenants are furious & dont know what to do it feels like were being violated from both sides helppppp

    Reply

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