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How To Deal With An Eviction

Family being evicted

An eviction is the formal process used by a landlord to remove a tenant from a rental property. A landlord can file for an eviction over nonpayment of rent, a violation of the lease agreement, severe damage to the property, or if a tenant refuses to vacate the premises once the lease agreement is up. Every state has its own laws governing how and when a landlord can evict a tenant.

Before a landlord can file for a court-ordered eviction, he or she must first give the tenant official notice to vacate the unit. This notice also lets the tenant know the landlord's intent to file a lawsuit.

Once served with an official lawsuit, or summons to a court hearing, the tenant does have the right to respond. The tenant can submit a written response to the court telling their side of the story and defend why they are in breach of the lease agreement. If the tenant fails to respond or appear in court at the hearing, the court will award judgment to the landlord.

There are also ways to deal with an eviction notice outside of the courtroom. Once served with a notice, the tenant can work out an arrangement or agreement with the landlord that keeps them from filing suit and going forth with a hearing. This settlement usually involves payment in full of outstanding rent charges or arrangements to rectify the situation.

The landlord also has a responsibility to maintain the rental agreement and provide decent living space. If the landlord is in breach of the lease agreement, the tenant also has a right to file for eviction, which allows the tenant to break the lease agreement and vacate the unit.

If you are facing an eviction situation, research the laws in your state regarding landlord-tenant agreements and know your rights. You can find information on tenant rights, laws, and protections for your state at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).