What Happens If You Are Evicted? What Are Your Rights?Written on November 7, 2014
If you have gone through the eviction process, you know there a number of hoops to jump through and details that must be dealt with correctly. Evictions are a civil matter that occur between a landlord and tenant.
When most people think of evictions, they envision a tenant in an apartment complex or home who gets kicked out for not paying the rent. That is frequently the case, but there are other situations when an eviction is necessary. If you want to get rid of a roommate who isn’t on your lease, or someone who has been staying with you for an extended period of time and just won’t leave, an eviction is the legal means you have to get them out. You can’t just throw their stuff outside and tell them to get lost.
If you own a home you rent out, or have someone staying with you who isn’t on the lease or paying expenses, it would be a good idea to consult an attorney prior to beginning the eviction process. If you attempt to go through with such an eviction on your own, and don’t follow the proper steps, the process could get dragged out for months and months. The attorneys at The Silverbach Group are experienced in all civil matters and would be able to assist you with an eviction.
If you have been threatened with eviction and don’t feel it’s justified, we can help you as well. If a landlord hasn’t made critical repairs to your apartment or home, and you withhold rent until the problem is resolved, you will have grounds to fight the eviction. It’s also important to keep meticulous records of all monies you pay. Be sure to get a receipt from your landlord every time you pay the rent.
The first step in the eviction process is to file papers with the courts. This is usually done in magistrate court but could vary from county to county. After filling out the required forms and paying a fee, your tenant will be served notice of your intent to evict. This will either be done by a sheriff’s deputy or a private process server. It can be given to your tenant in person or tacked to their door. A copy of the notice will also be mailed to them.
The tenant then has seven days to answer the filing. Those seven days includes both holidays and weekends. If they don’t respond, a judge will issue a writ of dispossession. The landlord then takes the writ to the sheriff’s office and schedules an eviction date. Most sheriff’s offices in the state require you to have four “able bodied” people to remove any property inside the home.
If the tenant does answer the filing, a court date will be scheduled so both sides can present their case. These hearings are usually scheduled at least 30 days in advance. If you are involved in an eviction, and a hearing is set, it’s critical to have an attorney. As the landlord, you may be entitled to back rent. As the tenant, you may have the right to stay in your home and not have your belongings placed in the street. That’s why having effective legal counsel is so important.
A common mistake made during the paperwork process is not listing “all other occupants” as those you want evicted. If you just list the name of the person on the lease, and there are others who live there, only the property that belongs to the person you listed will be removed. All a roommate, spouse or other legal adult has to say is: “Everything here is mine.” If that happens, and “all other occupants” isn’t listed on the writ, the eviction will be cancelled and you will have to repeat the entire process.
It’s important to remember that during the actual eviction one or more sheriff’s deputy will probably be present. They aren’t there to help either side. The only role law enforcement has is to “keep the peace” and prevent disagreements or violence.
If you are on either end of an eviction issue, and a court date has been set, contact The Silverbach Group at once. We are available for immediate consultation and assistance. You can reach us at (770) 635-0334.