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Can I stop an eviction after getting an Eviction Notice?

Yes, it may be possible to stop an eviction after you have received an Eviction Notice. Receiving this notice typically does not mean you will be evicted right away. Most likely, it simply means your landlord thinks you have broken one or more of the terms of your lease. The notice signals that they plan to begin the legal process of evicting you if you do not correct the problem.

Review the Eviction Notice.

Every state requires landlords to provide tenants with formal written notice before starting the legal process of eviction. A landlord usually must wait a certain amount of time after they give you the notice before they can go ahead with the eviction in court. The amount of time typically ranges from a few days to a month, depending on the state and the reason for the eviction. Either way, it is the key time for you to talk with your landlord to try to stop the eviction from moving forward.

Correct the problem raised in the notice.

The surest way to stop an eviction is to make sure you are not breaking the lease terms. Since most evictions are based on failure to pay rent, paying any past-due rent and late fees is usually enough to stop an eviction. If it is due to something else, talk to your landlord to work out a solution that works for both of you. For example, if your landlord discovered that you got a new pet when the lease does not allow it, you may be able to rehome your pet, or work out another compromise, to avoid an eviction.

If you cannot stop breaking the lease terms within the time stated on the Eviction Notice, your landlord might still be willing to stop the eviction process if you agree to a concrete plan to fix the problem soon. For example, if you do not have the money to pay all your back rent, you can try to set up a Late Rent Payment Plan. It is wise to make sure any agreements are in writing, signed, and include a clear statement that the landlord agrees not to evict you if you follow the terms of the plan.

Assert your rights.

If you do not believe you are breaking your lease, it might also be helpful to discuss that with your landlord. Gather any evidence you may have, such as canceled checks showing your on-time rent payments, to prove your side of the story. If you think your landlord is lying in order to evict you illegally, you may want to ask a lawyer about your options. If your landlord has not been keeping up on maintenance, or ignoring problems, you may also want to send a Notice of Unhealthy and Unsafe Conditions on the rental property.

Each state has its own rules about what Eviction Notices must say to be legal, but they generally must include the following:

  • A clear statement that the tenant is breaking the terms of the lease and that the landlord plans to start the eviction process.
  • If the eviction is for failure to pay rent, the amount of past-due rent that must be paid to stop the eviction, including any late fees.
  • If the eviction is for breaking a lease term, the specific lease term that has been broken.
  • The amount of time the tenant has to stop breaking the lease or move out before the landlord moves forward with the eviction process.

Besides including these statements, most states require Eviction Notices to be in writing and delivered to you in person or posted on the door of your home. A Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney can help you figure out whether the Eviction Notice you have received follows your state's laws.

Will an eviction stay on my permanent record?

Receiving an Eviction Notice does not affect your permanent record, even if you choose to move out of the property instead of fighting the eviction.

However, if a court action is filed, or a court agrees with your landlord and orders an eviction, this may appear on your permanent record. Most lawsuits are matters of public record, which means even if you win your case, there will be a record of it. Many landlords screen prospective tenants to see if previous landlords have tried to evict them. Regardless of the outcome of the case, landlords tend to not want to rent to anyone who has been taken to court for an eviction.

Additionally, an eviction judgment nearly always counts as a serious negative mark on your credit report. This can hurt your chances of renting in the future, getting a loan, or even getting a job later. An eviction judgment typically stays on a person's credit report for seven years. For that reason, it is smart to do everything you can to stop the eviction process before it goes to court.

How do I find out if fighting an eviction makes sense?

Fighting an eviction may not be the best idea. Often, if tenants cannot correct the problem that prompted the Eviction Notice, and the notice was done legally, fighting it could lead to more severe legal consequences. Getting legal help early is very important, as missing deadlines could mean missing your chance to fight an eviction.

However, if moving out after receiving an Eviction Notice is not possible, either due to the short time frame or financial hardship, you may be able to negotiate a move out plan. Landlords may be more flexible if you try to negotiate before a court case is filed. If you need more time and your landlord is unwilling to negotiate, fighting the eviction in court can provide at least a few more weeks for you to figure out your next move.

A tenant facing an eviction may benefit from hiring a tenant lawyer. A lawyer can make sure you understand the legal requirements in your city or state, and help you deal with your landlord or fight an eviction.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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