Fighting Eviction – What You Can Do
In order for the tenant to win the eviction case, the landlord must establish that the tenant did something wrong that warrants ending of the tenancy and removing the tenant from the premises.
Each jurisdiction has its own set of detailed procedures and rules governing the legal process and law of eviction. Landlords must strictly comply with all of the technical requirements if they are to be successful in their eviction against the tenant. Substantial compliance usually is not good enough. So if your attorney can find defects in how notices were written or how they were served on you or your cotenants, you might be able to defeat the landlord’s case.
There are some legal defenses that can prevent a landlord from evicting a tenant even if the tenant has not paid the rent. If the landlord has violated the law by failing to make required repairs this might be a good defense to the eviction lawsuit. If the landlord’s reason for suing you is in fact to punish you for exercising some legal right, you might have a good defense for retaliatory eviction.
If you live in a community that has a rent control, the landlord might have to prove good cause to evict you. If the landlord gave you a 30-day notice terminating your month-to-month tenancy, but later accepted rent covering a period beyond that 30 days, he might have waived the right to evict on that notice. Even if you lose the lawsuit, the judge might give you “relief from forfeiture” of your lease – usually if you pay the landlord what you owe.
Finally, you should go to court fully prepared with any and all evidence you think might assist you in the presentation of your case to the court. Examples of relevant evidence include photos of your apartment or home; receipts for repairs, canceled checks, inspection reports, copy of your lease and all correspondence and e-mails between you and the landlord.