What to Do When You've Been Evicted

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This is a guest post from Chris Black of RentersInsurance.com

out-of-home-3517574If you’ve been evicted by your landlord from the apartment or house you’ve been renting, you’re probably wondering where to turn to next. Regardless of the reason, eviction is a serious matter that can leave you feeling stressed out and helpless. Before the situation gets totally out of hand, there are several things you can and should do to turn things around and get back on your feet once again.

Act Immediately

The moment you receive an eviction notice, you should take action. Sitting by and doing nothing will only allow things to go from bad to worse, so act immediately by arranging a meeting with your landlord to discuss the situation and try to work out some sort of compromise. Ask your landlord if there’s any way you can set up a payment plan to get caught up if you’re behind on rent, or try asking for a little more time to get things figured out. If the landlord agrees, do everything you can to hold up your end of the bargain and work hard to make things right. By doing so you can stop the eviction process altogether and stay on good terms with your landlord–and you might be able to stay right where you’re at.
Know Your Rights If your landlord isn’t willing to negotiate, it’s time to find out what your rights are. Since eviction processes may vary depending on where you live, it’s important that you learn what the steps of the eviction process are, and how much time you have between each step to sort things out. If you take no action whatsoever, at some point you will be asked to vacate the premises–it’s better to find out when exactly that will be sooner rather than later.

Consider All of Your Options

Just because you’re being evicted doesn’t mean you don’t have any options. You can choose to fight the eviction if you feel it’s wrongful. Chances are, though, that if you don’t have the money to pay your rent, you probably won’t be able to cover the costs of a lawyer and legal fees needed to fight back. If this is the case, your other options include simply moving out and finding a new place to live, or staying put and letting the eviction process play out. The later may buy you more time, but if you’re going to have to move anyway, doing it as soon as possible is the better option. By looking for a place right away, you might be able to secure a new residence before the eviction even has a chance of appearing on your credit report. Also, if your landlord wants you out, you might be able to stop the process altogether by leaving quietly and peacefully. You might even be able to work out a deal with the landlord who wants you out–if you leave immediately maybe they will be willing to keep the fact that you were served an eviction notice quiet. This will make it much easier to find a new place–a prospective landlord is going to be hesitant about renting to you if you’re rental history includes an eviction.

Seek Assistance, If Necessary

Sometimes circumstances beyond our control can leave us in dire straits. If a job loss or one that doesn’t pay enough is making it impossible to find a new place to live after an eviction, you may qualify for some assistance. Find out what resources are available to you and your family so that you are able to find a safe and comfortable place to live, even if it’s only temporary. Programs like welfare or family services may be able to help you cover some living expenses while you’re down and out, and don’t forget about organizations like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. They might be able to offer you some support as well. Shelters and even some churches in your local area can also be of some assistance if your family is facing a crisis situation due to an eviction.

Move On

If you’re able to, your best option is to try and move on as quickly as possible by locating a new place to rent. An eviction on your record can make it a bit more challenging, but there are ways to work around it. If you find a place that you are interested in renting but your credit isn’t good enough to get you in, ask a family member or friend if they can cosign the lease for you. If you can’t find a cosigner, try to get referrals and recommendations from people that really know you and can vouch for you by way of good references. If you’re single, you might be able to find someone looking for a roommate. Sharing a place will cut down on expenses and make rent much more affordable than if you were on your own.

An eviction doesn’t have to be a dead end. If you’ve been evicted, there are things you can do to help turn you negative situation into a positive one. Whatever you decide to do, learn from your mistakes and past circumstances and do everything you can to earn the trust of a new landlord or anyone else that helps you out. You never know–someone might be willing to give you a second chance.