You’ve been evicted and you panic. Stop, calm down and read the notice very closely, and if you have questions, contact a lawyer with experience in this area of the law.
Renting at the best of times might not be the most wonderful experience, depending on the landlord you have. That having been said, you need to be aware that there is a complete set of rules, regulations and laws that govern not only what rights you have as a tenant, but what rights the landlord has as well. These laws do apply to evictions, which tend to vary from state to state — all the more reason to consult a lawyer if you are faced with eviction.
The first thing you should be aware of, depending on where you live, is that the landlord might not need to provide a reason for evicting you. Check this out before you rent if you don’t want any unpleasant surprises later. In California for instance, there are a fair number of jurisdictions with laws on the books that say the landlord doesn’t have to give you a reason for evicting you. So, before you fight eviction, check with an attorney to find out what laws apply in your state.
Just for the record, other states do have various good reasons on the books for a landlord to evict. Some of them include failing to pay the rent, that a provision in the lease was violated (always read the fine print on your lease first), there are damages to the rental unit or you are a nuisance and/or doing something illegal.
Another reason that landlords may also use is that the tenant is not letting them into the unit to repair things or to inspect it. If you don’t like the idea of someone going into your home to inspect it, then you might want to think twice about the concept of renting.
A notice of eviction cannot be verbal; it must follow specific rules as laid out in the laws of your state. Generally speaking though, the eviction must be contained in a written notice. Whether the reasons for the eviction are contained in that notice may depend on the reasons for eviction in the first place. The length of time to vacate the premises may also range (depending on where you live and the reasons for the eviction) from 3 to 120 days.
Landlords may also file something called an Unlawful Detainer, which indicates you have violated the terms of the rental agreement in some manner. Do not ignore this notice, as it was filed in court and is a valid legal document. Speaking of legal documents, there is another method of being evicted, being served by a Sheriff. Again, this is usually the result of a case that has gone to court.
Read every document you get during this process very carefully, as it might not mean you need to leave right away. There may also be things you are able to do, with the help of a highly skilled attorney, to fight the eviction. You won’t know until you call an attorney and ask for a consultation. Don’t think that you have to fight an eviction on your own, not when competent legal counsel will be able to sort things out for you.