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Tenant Questions

Q: What are the tenant's rights in the rental eviction process?
A: While laws vary from state to state, most landlord tenant laws require that written notice be given to the tenant, with ample time for the tenant to take corrective action if they so choose. In some cases, the written notice must be issued by the court. But in most cases, the initial eviction notice can be given by the landlord. An example of this would be a 3-day eviction notice to pay rent or quit. If the back rent has not been paid within the 3 day deadline, then the landlord can file the case in court.

Q: Can the landlord physically evict me by removing my belongings or changing the locks?
A: In most cases, NO. The landlord must follow local statutes and procedures if he/she wants the rental eviction to be upheld in court or avoid a countersuit. Even if the landlord wins the case, the court will issue an order for the tenant to be out by a certain date. If the tenant has not moved out, then the local Sheriff's office will evict the tenant… not the landlord.

Q: What are the legal reasons for a rental eviction?
A: There are several reasons that a landlord is may be able to legally evict you: Unpaid Rent: Tenants not paying their rent is the number one cause for rental evictions. If you are going to be late with your rent, make sure to contact your landlord ahead of time to try and work out a solution. They are not legally obligated to do so, but most would rather get paid a little late than not at all. In any case, the landlord still MUST give the tenant written notice that unpaid rent is due and payable within a certain time period pending eviction.

Q: What should I do if I feel I'm being wrongly evicted?
A: Keep good records of your transactions with the landlord, cancelled checks, money orders and receipts should you pay in cash. If the case is brought to court, you may want to consider getting an eviction attorney. If the court finds in your favor, then the landlord can be held liable for your court costs and attorney's fees as well. If you are representing yourself and you withheld rent because the landlord refused to make repairs, you must prove to the court that the problems are serious and withholding repairs made the rental unit unfit for your use.

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