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Home Eviction Help - Part 2

Contact Your Landlord - Before trying to contact a lawyer or legal counsel, contact your landlord. Ask about the reasons for the eviction, and ask if you can work things out. Especially in the case of a multi-unit apartment complex, the rental agency may not have direct, regular contact with renters. If you can work out why you are being evicted, and rectify the situation, you may be able to stay in your home.

If the issue is late rental payment or breach of lease, you may be able to solve the situation by fixing the lease breach, or paying past due rent.

Contact an Attorney - If your landlord is unwilling to work out a deal to end the eviction, and you feel as if you are unfairly targeted, contact an attorney who specializes in landlord/tenant disputes. Your lawyer will be able to look at the facts of the situation, including your lease agreement, and will know the tenancy laws in your state. Your lawyer may discover that your landlord failed to follow laws and either end or extend the amount of time you have to leave the rental unit.

Use a website such as FindLaw to locate a landlord-tenant lawyer in your area.[1]

What Do I Do If I Can’t Stop It?
In many cases, you landlord may have done everything within his or her legal rights. That means you will have to leave your apartment or house within the period dictated by the notice. How much time you have can vary significantly. However, you should do a few things immediately:

Locate a new apartment and sign a short-term lease - Finding somewhere to move quickly should be your top priority. Even if it means signing a temporary, short-term lease while you look for permanent housing, it’s best not to wait until the last minute to find at least some temporary housing.

If you cannot find housing, use self-storage - Storing your possessions will prevent you from having to sell your property. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to try to stay with family or at a lower-cost hotel until you can find a new rental property.

Locate a local family shelter - If you cannot find housing and cannot afford a hotel, attempt to find temporary, emergency housing. Look for a local shelter or a private charity. The Salvation Army, for example, helps provide families with emergency housing to help stop homelessness.[2]

What If I Don’t Leave?
If you decide to ignore the eviction notice, your landlord may, in some states, be able to have you legally removed by local police. According to your lease, your landlord cannot come into your apartment without your permission during the lease period or even before the period has ended. However, after the eviction period is over, he or she can come into the property and is within his or her legal right to remove your items or have your items removed by others.

You may even be fined, sued, or arrested for trespassing if you fail to leave the premises.

The most important thing to remember about eviction notices is that time is your most important factor. Once you receive an eviction notice, you will only have as much time as dictated by the eviction notice. Do not delay in addressing the issue. Take all of the above steps, in order, the moment you find the notice on your door. Make solving the issue the first thing you do, and, barring that, finding adequate temporary housing before time runs out. Ignoring the issue or waiting to respond will only make matters worse.