Just the word “eviction” conjures up nightmares for the average tenant. Whether they have a long-term lease or are operating month-to-month, most tenants fear what will happen if they get into any kind of a dispute with their landlord.
But eviction isn’t a given, even if your landlord is unhappy with you. There are a number of grounds on which tenants can fight an unfair eviction. They include:
- It violates the Fair Housing Act. Landlords aren’t supposed to discriminate against tenants on the basis of their inclusion in a protected class. That means, for example, that your landlord can’t evict you simply because they learned that you’re in a same-sex relationship.
- The eviction is an act of retaliation. You have certain legal rights — including the right to complain that the property is in violation of housing codes or in disrepair. If your landlord decides to punish you for making a fuss, that’s retaliation.
- You used your rent to pay for repairs yourself. If you gave your landlord notice and time to make repairs to the property and finally gave up and paid for them yourself, your landlord may not be allowed to evict you for the missing rent.
- Your landlord accepted a partial payment. If your landlord agreed to work with you and took a partial payment, that could prevent your landlord from evicting you for at least another month.
- You weren’t properly notified. Landlords sometimes think that it’s “their property, their rules,” and they don’t want to go through the proper process to file an eviction with the court. That’s neither legal nor fair.
If your landlord is trying to evict you illegally or unfairly, find out what rights you have to fight back. Experienced legal assistance may be worth more than you realize.