Tenants Rights To Prevent A Eviction  

An eviction is never something any tenant wants to experience.

However, for many tenants, this unpleasant experience is a fact of life and it ends up creating a havoc with their credit report. That is why it is important that you know the tenants' right to prevent an eviction, especially if you have been paying your rent on time and feel there is no cause for eviction.

Before a landlord actually starts the eviction procedure, he must send a notice to quit to the tenant. This is usually in the form a one page notice that is signed by the landlord or his attorney. This notice will mention the date by which the tenant should leave the apartment along with the reason for the eviction.

As a tenant, the moment you receive a notice to quit, make sure you contact a lawyer.

Although the notice to quit is not a court order and nothing will happen if you do not vacate the premises by the said date, it will allow the landlord to start legal proceedings against you. The landlord will then send you a summons and complaint, which will be delivered by a state marshal. You must never ignore a summons and complaint because once it is delivered, the eviction process has actually begun. If you do not take any action, you end up losing the case by default.

Usually the summons and complaint will have a return date and within two days after that date, you or your attorney should file a paper known as appearance in the court. This paper (appearance) is available at the clerk's office in the court.

Tenants' rights to prevent a eviction can include any or all of the following:

  • The tenant offered to pay the rent before the eviction action began
  • The landlord took rent from the tenant after the eviction action began
  • The apartment was unsafe and/or unhealthy
  • The tenant complained to the landlord just before the eviction action began
  • The tenant or someone in his immediately family is elderly or disabled and lives in a building with five or more units

Remember, your defense action the eviction will depend on the reason stated by the landlord. Just because an eviction action has started, it does not mean that the landlord will win or that you can buy time. A tenant has important rights that he can use only if he acts on time.

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