How To Respond to an Eviction Letter

In the event that a tenant or lessee of an apartment, office space, or any property violates the terms of the lease contract in any way, one of the last recourses of a landlord would be eviction. This means that the tenant is being forcibly asked to leave the premises. This could be for several legal causes, including a long period of non-payment, misuse of the property, and the like. Oftentimes, though, amicable settlement of issues is preferred, but if there is no resolution of problems between landlord and tenant, then eviction is the last course of action.

An eviction letter is basically a formal note that informs a tenant that he or she needs to vacate the premises, or else the landlord would file a complaint in court for removal. This would also include the reasons behind the eviction, which should be based on the lease agreement signed by and between the landlord and tenant.

In case you find yourself on the receiving end of an eviction letter, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

Have an amicable discussion. Before the landlord thinks about eviction, the first thing he should have done is discuss with you the terms of your lease agreement, and whether either party is having trouble meeting the requirements of this agreement. For instance, you may be late in paying the rent. Or you might have made modifications to the premises that are not allowed in the contract. The best thing to do, before any eviction proceeding starts, is to settle these issues in an agreeable manner. For instance, you can ask your landlord if you can settle your arrears in instalments. However, if you are unable to meet eye to eye on settling amicably, then you can expect an eviction letter to be the next step.

Know the rules.
You should be aware of the terms and conditions in your contract, and the events that might trigger eviction. For instance, there might be a specified grace period or penalties for late payments. Or, there might be modifications or conditions that are not allowed. An example would be sub-leasing, or building modifications. Also, you should be aware of federal and state laws governing the rights of a tenant or a lessee. Your lease agreement should primarily be consistent with the law.

Know the grace period. Most states would have a required number of days as given as an allowance for eviction. Some would require five to seven days notice, which would allow a tenant to look for a new place to stay or run his business. This would also enable the tenant to come up with the amount usually required to rent a new place, such as the security deposit and advance payment.

It is often the prerogative of the landlord to take the tenant to court and file a civil case, if necessary. This would allow the landlord to get compensation that he or she deserves, in the event that a tenant owes him money. However, as court cases tend to be expensive for all parties involved, it’s always the best course of action to first try to reason and appeal to the generous heart of the landlord, in case you can still settle differences out of court. But if all else fails, then you should be prepared to pack up and find another place.


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