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Landlords & Tenants Lawyer

Evictions are time-consuming, expensive, and equally disliked by both landlords and tenants. But at times it can be unavoidable. In some instances, a landlord may use it to evict a tenant who has behaved detrimentally. In other instances, a landlord may use it to use it unreasonably to force a tenant to move out. Whatever role you may find yourself in, you must understand the landlord-tenant law and ensure your rights are protected. In both cases, hiring an eviction attorney is the best way to deal with the process and protect your interests.

What Is Eviction?

Eviction is a process used by landlords to take control of the property leased to tenants who deny leaving the property. Eviction laws in a region is an amalgamation of six types of basic rules:

  1. Local Law
  2. State Law
  3. Leases
  4. Federal Law
  5. Common Law
  6. Court Rules

A majority of the states regulate residential renting and most of the laws they use are derived from federal statutes in the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act or the Model Residential Landlord-Tenant Code. These regulations are further supplemented by cities, counties, and other local legislations. In addition to these laws, the landlord and tenants may mutually regulate the eviction process through a lease. For instance, a lease signed by the landlord and tenant may dictate the timing and instances that can trigger the eviction process. These provisions may override the common law but will not conflict with official regulations. In addition to these factors, the local court rules of processing evictions significantly influence the process.

The Eviction Process: An Overview

Though the process varies from state to state, the different stages involved in eviction are:

Termination Notice for Cause

The eviction process is initiated after a landlord sends a notice of termination to the tenant. Termination notice for a cause is issued to tenants if they are in violations of some aspect of the landlord-tenant lease. The three basic types of termination notices are:

Pay Rent or Quit Notice

This notice is issued if a tenant fails to pay the rent. Typically, a tenant will have three to five days to settle his dues with the landlord. Failing to do so, the tenant will have to move out of the house.

Cure or Quit Notice

This termination notice is sent to a tenant if they violate a term agreed upon in the rental agreement or lease. For instance, a landlord may get a tenant to sign on a lease with a no-pet clause. In such an instance, if the tenant houses a pet, the landlord can send them a cure and quit notice. Generally, a tenant gets a specified amount of time to correct the violation or move out.

Unconditional Quit Notice

As the name suggests, the termination notice is an order for a tenant to vacate the house. Unlike the other notices, a tenant is not required to correct their actions or pay their rents. These notices are the harshest of the lot. However, landlords cannot send these notices at will. For a landlord to send an unconditional quit notice, a tenant must have committed one of the following errors:

  • Failed to pay rent on multiple occasions
  • Seriously damaged the premises
  • Violates an important clause of a lease or rental agreement
  • Engages in illegal activity such as drug dealing on the premises

Termination Notice without Cause

Landlords can send a termination notice without a cause if the rental agreement does not have a fixed term clause. In such cases, the tenant gets 30 to 60 days to vacate the house depending on the state and region they rent the property in. However, there are a few rent control cities where these notices cannot be issued. In such cities, the landlord has to mandatorily provide a legally recognized reason for evicting a tenant.

Filing of the Eviction Lawsuit

If the tenant fails to move out upon receiving the notice or the end of the period agreed on in the lease, the landlord can approach the court and register a complaint to move forward with the eviction process. In this stage, the tenant is issued a summon to answer to the complaint. The court then schedules a day for

The Hearing

Both the landlord and the tenant present their sides. The court hears and evaluates the evidence provided by both the parties and then gives out the ruling. Tenants can try and swing the case in their favor by getting it dismissed based on legal technicalities or proving the eviction is illegal.

The Sheriff’s Escort

Even if a landlord wins the lawsuit, they cannot immediately kick the tenant out. Landlords are required to provide the local law enforcement authorities with a copy of the court judgment. On receiving the notice, a sheriff or marshal visits the tenants and gives them a notice. At this point, the tenant has no option but to leave the premises.

Landlord Rights During Eviction

A landlord has the right to demand a tenant’s eviction only if there is a legally recognizable condition to back the step. For instance, the end of a rental agreement or violation of a clause in the lease. Landlords are required to take the legal route to eviction. They cannot take the matters into their own hands to force a tenant out even if it is the latter who is at fault. Forcing tenants to leave the premises by changing locks or by not paying utility bills can have dire consequences for landlords.

Tenant Rights During Eviction

Tenants can fight eviction if they feel they have been illegally forced to leave their rented premises. If the tenant feels that the eviction is the landlord’s retaliation for asserting their legal lives, they can fight the lawsuit in court and demand compensation. Retaliatory evictions are instances when a landlord tries to evict a tenant after the latter registers a complaint against them for housing code violations or following discriminatory practices.

Why Hire a Landlord Tenant Attorney?

Hiring a landlord-tenant eviction attorney will benefit you in the following ways:

  • Landlord-tenant lawyers are well-versed with the intricacies and nuances of eviction processes in particular regions. Using this expertise they will ensure you build a strong case and accomplish your objective
  • If you are a landlord, a landlord and tenant attorney will communicate with the court and the tenant on your behalf and ensure all legal technicalities and requirements are satisfied
  • If you are a tenant, a landlord-tenant eviction lawyer will help you identify the defenses you can use to avoid eviction
  • A landlord and tenant lawyer will handle the documentation on your behalf, represent you in court and work with your best interests in mind.
  • In either case, a landlord-tenant eviction attorney will help you gather evidence and strengthen your case

Are you a landlord looking for legal assistance to regaining your property back from a tenant? Or are you a tenant who is being forced to move out for no concrete reason? In any instance, fill in the form provided alongside and we will help you find the best landlord and tenant lawyer to help you with your case.