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When is eviction illegal?

Although some landlords rent on an oral agreement, you will usually sign some sort of written agreement when renting out a home, outlining payment and the rules of the property. A landlord can evict, or remove, a tenant from the property if any part of the agreement is broken. However, they must give you proper warning before evicting you. Here are the conditions for legal eviction and the process your landlord must follow if they wish to evict you from the property.

Generally, you cannot be evicted without cause, but any breach of your agreement with the landlord could give him or her just reason to evict you. These reasons could include:

  • You miss rental payments or consistently pay them late
  • You have pets or people in your home who are not allowed on the premises
  • You harass neighbors or your landlord receives consistent noise complaints about you
  • You rent your home out to other people
  • You cause significant damage to the property
  • You are involved in criminal activity, such as drug dealing
  • You stay after your lease has expired (if you have a lease)

Even if any of the above criteria apply to you, your landlord must still follow the proper procedure if they wish to evict you.

First, your landlord must give you written notice of the eviction. Depending on the type of eviction notice, you will usually have a period to either correct your actions or move out. You will also be required to write a response to the eviction notice, usually within five days.

You must always be given a written notice. A landlord cannot evict you without warning. A landlord also cannot shut off your utilities or change the locks on your door to force you to leave. That is illegal behavior that you can hold against them in court.

If you correct your actions, a landlord usually can’t continue with the eviction process. However, if you fail to correct them in the time stated on the notice or if you continue to violate the agreement with your landlord in the future, your landlord can file for an Eviction Summons and Complaint. If the complaint goes through and gives your landlord possession of your home, they must then appoint a time for the sheriff to escort you from the premises. This too must be disclosed to you ahead of time. The sheriff cannot show up without warning to evict you.

If your landlord has done anything illegal to force you out, such as shutting off your utilities, contact an attorney immediately. You may also be protected from eviction if the landlord did not follow the proper eviction procedure. An attorney can help you build a defense around your case if you are facing eviction.

Tue Aug 28, 6:03pm

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