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What to do if you’re facing rental eviction?

You wake up one morning to find an eviction notice from your landlord waiting for you. You have been evicted and will have to leave the premises in 3 weeks. This is where are you blinking the question yourself, what will happen if I cannot pay rent? 

Because you’re unsure what will happen if you don’t pay rent, you might want to read our article on what to do if you’re facing eviction.

Rental Eviction Brief Overview

Except for non-payment of rent, a landlord may remove a tenant for legitimate reasons, and the tenant has the power to appeal the eviction.

Reasons for eviction

Evictions can happen to anyone.

The most prevalent cause of eviction is a tenant’s failure to pay rent. Tenants are not permitted to withhold rent to compel the landlord to do something, such as make repairs. The landlord has the legal authority to demand that the rent be paid in full when it is due.

If the renter cannot pay the rent and informs the landlord in advance, the landlord may allow the tenant to stay and pay rent later or over time. On the other hand, the landlord is under no duty to do so.

Among the other reasons for eviction are:

  • violation of rental agreement provisions
  • causing damage to the rented property
  • annoying or threatening others in the rented premises

What will I do if I can’t pay my rent?

There is a lot of fine print, as with any government rule. Here’s what you can do if you’re late on your rent or don’t believe you’ll be able to make it this month.

1. Verify whether you qualify for the moratorium.

For the moratorium to protect you from eviction until June 2021, each individual on a lease must declare that the following points are true under the penalty of perjury.

  • You’ve made every effort to obtain government assistance for rent or housing.
  • Either you don’t plan to earn more than $90,000 this year (or double that if you’re filing jointly), you were exempt from reporting income to the IRS in 2020, or you received a stimulus payment in 2020 or 2021.
  • You’re doing everything you can to make the payments you can.
  • You are can’t cover your rent due to a lack of income, a loss of employment, or significant medical expenditures.
  • If you were evicted, you would either become homeless or relocate into shared, cramped accommodations.
  • You are aware that you must continue to pay your rent.
  • You realize that once the order expires, your landlord may seek payment for all past-due rent and evict you.

2. Determine whether you have any emergency cash that can assist you in making payments.

Various resources have been set aside by cities, counties, and states for emergency rental support during the coronavirus epidemic. Find out whatever programs you could be eligible for and apply for them.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition maintains a directory of COVID-19 emergency assistance programs in states and municipalities.

3. Inform your landlord of your situation and try to reach an agreement.

Contact your landlord once you’ve confirmed that you’ll be unable to pay your rent owing to the problems brought by COVID-19. Inform your landlord of your condition and attempt to reach an agreement that works for both of you. 

If you’re a decent renter, your landlord will most likely appreciate your reaching out sooner rather than later and will most likely work with you to reduce the loss of rental revenue.

For example, if you’re currently unemployed but anticipate getting a job or an infusion of cash soon, consider offering the following:

  • Missing your next rent payment and repaying it over the following six (or another number that works for you) months
  • Offering more often payments at a lower monthly amount (for example, promise to make three $300 payments every ten days rather than one $1200 monthly payment), or
  • During the crisis, the rent is temporarily reduced.

Whatever agreement you reach with your landlord, make sure to obtain it in writing to protect yourself if your landlord decides to file for eviction later.

4. Understand Your Rights

To evict you from your rental agreement, your landlord must first provide you with proper notice in writing and follow specific rules. You have a few alternatives at this point:

  • You may comply with the eviction notice and vacate the premises.
  • You can either fix whatever flaw your landlord has mentioned (smoking, pets, late rent, etc.) and see if your landlord still wants to go through with the tenant eviction procedures; or
  • You may stay in your apartment and do nothing.
  • If you pick the last option, your landlord will have to file a lawsuit against you, known as an unlawful detainer suit, to continue the eviction process.

Eviction Process in California

Again, before filing an actual eviction, the property owner or management must serve the tenant with notice. This notice may be delivered due to unpaid rent, property damage, unlawful activity, or a breach of the rental agreement.

If the renter does not react to the stated notice period, the property owner or management can file an Unlawful Detainer with the Superior Court.

Contested Eviction

The tenant has 10-15 days to react once the court files the unlawful detainer. The eviction becomes challenged if the tenant answers and decides to fight the case. There will be a trial date scheduled, and the property manager must appear in court to present their case.

Uncontested Eviction

If the tenant does not react within 10-15 days after the filing date of the Unlawful Detainer with the court, the case becomes an uncontested eviction. There’s no need to set up a trial date., which significantly shortens the eviction procedure in most circumstances. 

Although the expenses of an uncontested eviction are often cheaper, additional conditions might arise in both contested and uncontested evictions.

Other Points to Consider

Depending on the court where the unlawful detainer was filed, there is a waiting period between each phase of the eviction procedure. Other factors, such as renters filing for bankruptcy, might cause the eviction to be delayed.

Learn More: San Francisco Eviction Process in California

When a Landlord May Send a Notice of Termination for Cause

There are generally three sorts of termination notifications that you could get if you have broken the rental agreement or lease in any way:

  • Pay Rent or Quit Notices are often sent to tenants who have not paid their rent. These notifications offer you a few days (three to five in most states) to pay the rent or move out (“quit”).
  • Cure or Quit Notices are generally sent to tenants who breach a lease or rental agreement provision or condition, such as a no-pets clause or the pledge not to make excessive noise. Typically, you have a specific period.
  • Unconditional Quit Notices are the toughest of all. They order the tenant to remove the premises without paying the rent or fixing a lease or rental agreement breach.

 In most places, unconditional quit notices are only permitted if you have:

  • consistently violated a fundamental lease or rental agreement condition
  • on more than one occasion, I’ve been late paying my rent.
  • significantly harmed the premises, or
  • involved in significant unlawful behaviour, such as drug dealing on the property

When Can a Landlord Terminate a Tenant Without Cause?

Even if you haven’t violated the tenancy contract or been late on payment, a landlord can surely ask you to vacate anytime (assuming you don’t have a fixed-term contract) as long as the landlord gives you enough notice.

A 30-day or 60-day Notice to Vacate can be used in most states to end a tenancy when the landlord has no grounds to terminate the tenancy. (In other places, the duration of the required notice may be somewhat longer or shorter.)

What to do if you’re facing eviction?

When facing eviction, you may feel as if the landlord has all control over the situation. However, this is not the case; you have certain rights, and your landlord must follow particular procedures to carry out an eviction.

A landlord-tenant law attorney in San Francisco can assist you in reviewing your situation and ensuring that your rights are safeguarded.

A San Francisco Tenant Lawyer Can Guide You With Your Tenant Eviction Issues.

Dealing with the possibility of eviction is never easy. You don’t know how it will come down and if you will avoid an eviction. Still, there are things you may take to help you if this does occur. Stay calm, do not panic, and if you’re facing a tenant eviction and want to fight it: call a reputable San Francisco Tenant Lawyer to guide you.

If you are looking for a Tenant Eviction Attorney, we at the SAN FRANCISCO REAL ESTATE LAW ATTORNEYS can help. Give us a call at (415) 991-6078 or submit an online form today

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