What Happens When You Get Evicted?
Federal moratoriums on rental evictions prevented millions of people who lost their jobs during the pandemic from facing the added burden of losing their homes. However, many states and cities no longer have a moratorium in place. These people are now at risk of losing their homes during the winter — and during a pandemic.
US News explains what you should do if you receive an eviction notice.
How Long Does The Eviction Process Last?
The rules regarding eviction differ widely between states and even counties. According to Nick Mertens, the vice president of Atlast Real Estate, Phoenix landlords could evict tenants within three weeks before the pandemic. On the other hand, the process in California could last up to six months.
Although the duration ranges, every state typically adheres to the same principles. First, landlords must issue an eviction notice. Second, a hearing is planned so the courts can order the tenant to move out. If the tenant refuses, a sheriff must join the landlord at the property to remove the tenant. By law, landlords cannot force tenants out without using the courts or a sheriff’s accompaniment.
But now, courts across the country face a massive volume of evictions after shutting down during the spring. Consequently, the process will likely be longer in several areas, according to Howard Dvorkin.
“The courts are going to be so backlogged because there are a tremendous amount (of cases), so you may not get evicted for five or six months,” Dvorkin, CFP, public account, and Debt.com chairman, told US News.
Moreover, Dvorkin speculated that courts might rule in tenants’ favor during the pandemic. “Judges, frankly, are not going to be that anxious to throw people on the street,” he stated.
Still, that’s not stopping evictions from continuing under the remaining protections still in effect. If you received an eviction notice, contact your area renter advocacy group and ask about affordable or free legal services. Also, visit your state and local government online to find any ordinances or measures that could help you avoid the process.
Finding A New Home Following Eviction
You may find out if you are going to be evicted before it happens. In this case, you should consider finding a new home before your landlord files a claim. Having an eviction on your record can significantly impact your ability to find another place to live. So if you owe your landlord back payments and you know you can’t afford the full amount, consider negotiating with them. Your landlord may not move forward if you leave voluntarily and with no property damage.
If you are evicted, be candid about it with your next potential landlord. Because they run background checks, they will most likely find out about your situation regardless. And, as Dvorkin, a landlord, bluntly put it, “Some landlords don’t want to hear your problems.”
However, he added, “I have found when people are upfront with me about past issues, I feel much better.”
A potential landlord may be willing to lease a unit to you despite your record, but they might require a larger security deposit.
How To Remove An Eviction From Your Record
While an eviction could be recorded on your credit report, it only stays for seven years. If the courts don’t issue a financial judgment or your landlord doesn’t report to the three major credit bureaus, it will not go on your report.
The court record that arises as a consequence of eviction, however, is harder to clear. The only way to get rid of this record is to expunge it. In this case, you need your landlord’s consent, which involves paying back your landlord. Some factors may allow you to seek an expungement, though it varies from state to state.
While you always have the option to lawyer up, you may not be able to afford it. After all, “Who has money for a lawyer if you can’t pay your rent?” noted Steve Siebold, who co-authored “How Money Works: Stop Being a Sucker.”
Siebold suggested negotiating with your landlord one-on-one to work out an agreement — preferably before the process begins. You could give your landlord an asset as collateral or set up a payment plan. Developing a solution is one way to let your landlord know you’re serious about holding your end of the deal.
As in any situation like this, always make sure to record your communication lines and get everything in writing.
No one on either side wants to be in this situation, and both of you may find that compromising is in your best interests. Taking the initiative and being honest about your position with your landlord — while also offering a plan — may help you avoid this situation altogether.
- LaPonsie, Maryalene. “What to Do If You Get Evicted.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 5 Nov. 2020, realestate.usnews.com/real-estate/articles/what-to-do-if-you-get-evicted.