What If I Am Evicted With An Unlawful Detainer

What If I Am Evicted With An Unlawful Detainer

An unlawful detainer is the legal term they give to a lawsuit which a landlord files so that he can evict a tenant. One of the documents might well be called a summons, you might receive a Notice to Tenant (that’s you) that you are being sued by the plaintiff (that’s your landlord). Once these papers are in your hand then the wheels are definitely in motion . . . the landlord wants you out, you have no choice but to attend the hearing, that’s mandatory, but it shouldn’t have come as a big surprise to you . . . your landlord cannot sue you “out of the blue”, first he must have given you notice that you’ve broken some part of your tenancy agreement and ask you “politely” to leave, in writing.

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There can be various different reasons why a landlord might serve an unlawful detainer on a tenant, the most common being:

  • non payment or late payment of rent
  • keeping pets when it is forbidden on your tenancy agreement
  • having more people reside in the property than is agreed on the contract

Of course, laws do vary from state to state, but generally speaking a landlord cannot serve you notice to quit without giving you adequate time to right whatever you’re doing wrong.

  • Non payment of rent – your landlord must speak to you about the problem and give you one last chance to pay up, probably around three days.  If you can’t (or won’t) pay but remain in the property then you can expect to receive a summons any day soon, if you simply leave the property and hand back the keys (with a receipt) then that should be the end of it, although the landlord can still chase you through the courts for any outstanding rent.
  • Breaching terms of the lease – if you’ve turned your apartment into a home for unwanted cats without reading the “no pets” clause in the lease, then the landlord must give you the opportunity to rectify the situation before heading off to the courts. As long as you pack up the kittens and take them to the pound then that should be the end of the matter, if, however, your apartment is still brimming with fur and claws after your warning then expect a summons.

There are, of course, many more scenarios, but you get the general idea? You probably won’t be taken too much by surprise if your landlord tries to evict you with an unlawful detainer.

Unlawful Detainer – To Fight or Not To Fight

Usually these cases are pretty clear cut, let’s face it, if you haven’t been paying the rent for a few months then you couldn’t possibly expect a free ride indefinitely, but if you were a couple of days late once and you know that the landlord is looking for excuses to evict you from your home then it just might be worth while to fight the case. Bottom line . . . is it worth spending the money to try and stay, even if you know that you’re in the right? Remember, it used to be thought that there were two sides to every story, but in actual fact there are three, the landlords side, the tenants side and the TRUTH.

What If I Leave Property in the Apartment After I’m Evicted

Again, this kind of depends on where you live and just how far your relationships has sunk with the Landlord, pretty often it’s all out war but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to be reunited with your personal possessions. Very often a tenant will be given a specific number of days in which to reclaim his property (maybe 15) after leaving the property, although you might have to pay a little for storage!

How Long Does Eviction Take

Unlike many law court situations, unlawful detainers can happen very quickly, in fact, it’s often all over and done with in around 30 days. You’ve got a maximum of 5 days to file a response after you’ve received an unlawful detainer, and if the tenant does file a response then the landlord will request a hearing date. Generally this will be scheduled within the next 20 or so days. Once these things are in motion the wheels do turn very quickly indeed.

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