4 Steps To Take If You’re Facing Eviction
In August, the Supreme Court struck down eviction protections for most of the U.S., meaning as many as 3.5 million households are at risk of losing their homes, CBS News reported. If you’re one of those millions of households, you may be wondering what exactly your options are and what you should be doing to be able to remain in your home.
Facing eviction is incredibly stressful, but before you panic, be sure to take these four steps that could prevent you from losing your housing.
1. Check the Laws in Your City and State
Although the federal moratorium on evictions has ended, your city or state may still have a moratorium in place. For example, New York is considering extending its statewide moratorium to Jan. 15, 2022, The New York Times reported. Note that the moratorium only applies to those who are facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Apply For Rent Relief
Certain states have programs in place that will provide financial assistance for rent to renters who have been impacted by COVID-19. For example, California has the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program that will cover up to 100% of rent owed, depending on your income and where you live.
3. Try To Work Out a Payment Plan With Your Landlord
Although it’s ideal that you have a conversation about your inability to pay rent with your landlord before the eviction notice lands on your door, it’s still worth it to open up the lines of communication and explain why you have missed rent payments. If you don’t qualify for rent relief or other assistance, you should try to work out a payment plan with the landlord to make up for missed payments. For example, you could offer to pay an extra $50 or $100 a month until the missed rent is paid back.
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4. Seek Legal Counsel
If you and your landlord cannot reach an agreement about a payment plan, your landlord may take legal action. In the state of California, a landlord can give the tenant a three-day notice to “pay rent or quit” following a missed rent payment. This notice gives you three days to pay the rent. If you fail to pay within the three days, the landlord can file an eviction against you in Superior Court.
If this happens, it’s important that you do not miss your court date. This is your opportunity to explain to the court why you should not be evicted. Although you don’t technically need a lawyer for this court appearance, it may be helpful to obtain the help of a professional who can help you understand your rights as a tenant and offer suggestions on how to proceed. Many cities offer free legal counsel to those who are facing eviction, according to Debt.com.
What Happens Next?
If you’ve proceeded through steps one through four and the court does not end up ruling in your favor, you, unfortunately, will have to leave your home. You will typically have 14 to 30 days to vacate the premises, though you may request a stay of eviction to postpone moving out, which can give you some extra time to figure out your next steps.
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