Thursday, April 18

What do I do if I am facing eviction?

Carmen Rivera, 54, shows some of the eviction notices she received for her small apartment in Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 30, 2022.
Rich Pedroncelli, A.P.

If you fall behind on rent, it can be really scary to get an eviction notice. The process can happen very quickly. State law in Alaska, Arizona, and North Carolina allows official eviction summonses to be served as little as two days before a hearing in front of a judge. In most cities across the country, the eviction process takes about a month.

As soon as you receive an eviction notice from your landlord or their attorney, it is important that you seek legal help immediately. There is more of 800 legal aid offices serving all counties and territories in the United States, according to the Department of Justice.

In some cases, you have the right to an attorney.

Evictions rise nationwide after moratorium ends

Housing advocates say evictions are increasing around the country, several months after a federal moratorium was allowed to end. (Dec 15)


To date, measures guaranteeing the right to an attorney in housing matters have been passed in seven cities: Baltimore, Boulder, Colorado; Cleveland, Ohio; Newark, NJ; New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Last year, Washington became the first state to guarantee counseling for tenants in eviction cases.

Here you can find tips on how to navigate the eviction process.

If they have not yet filed an eviction lawsuit against you:

  • Talk to your landlord. See if you can agree on a payment plan. Be sure to send an email and keep it as a written record of your request.
  • Get help paying rent or utilities. Congress approved billions of dollars in rental assistance funds. Find a program here.
  • Find out about local protections. In some jurisdictions, landlords are unable to evict tenants due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check the requirements here.
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If an eviction lawsuit has been filed against you:

  • Get a lawyer. On this page you can find a non-profit legal services provider.
  • Learn about the relevant requirements. Call the court. Ask questions: Do I need to file a written response with the court? How many days do I have to respond? Do I have to appear in court?
  • Try to solve the case. If you can get rental assistance, you may be able to work out an agreement with your landlord and stay in your home.

If a court has ruled that you can be evicted:

  • Get help with moving costs. Emergency assistance funds can also be used to pay the security deposit on a new home and moving costs. Find a program here.
  • Learn about tenant rights. Evictions stay on your record and can make it hard to find a home. It is important to know your rights. In the state of Washington, for example, you can file a written request with the court to prevent tenant screening agencies from accessing your file.



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