Eviction Notices
USINFO | 2014-05-28 14:32
An eviction notice, scary as it is, is not the eviction itself. When a tenant is served with an eviction notice they still have rights and options. The eviction notice may be presented as a legal document, but it must meet strict requirements before a court will consider it valid.

The Purpose of an Eviction Notice
An eviction notice is meant to inform tenants that a legal process of eviction is about to begin if the landlord grievance cannot be resolved. If the eviction is not based on a particular grievance, there is generally a much longer deadline to respond - up to 30-60 days (as opposed to 3-5 days for many issue-specific notices in some jurisdictions).
If the issue is confronted and legal requirements are adhered to quickly and competently, a tenant may be able to delay the process for weeks or even months, or even prevent the eviction from happening altogether.

Eviction Notice Requirements
In any jurisdiction, an eviction notice must provide all the information a tenant may need to understand the landlord's reason for eviction, and all the information needed to respond within required time frames, in order to be valid. Legal eviction processes begin only if a tenant doesn't use that information and respond appropriately before the deadline. Courts determine what kind of information is necessary and how it must be presented.
Landlords often hire legal counsel to assist in the eviction process. It is not required that a tenant hire an attorney, however, many tenants' rights/housing lawyers offer legal aid clinics and other free or low cost legal assistance services, so it may be worth considering.

Eviction Notices Must Contain Accurate Information
If you've received an eviction notice, the first and most important thing to do is to read the entire eviction notice carefully. Although they are not very long, they are subject to a long list of strict legal requirements.
A notice of eviction is much like any other notice. If the notice or its method of delivery is invalid or defective in any way, it must be filed again by the landlord. At a minimum, this can provide the tenant with another week or two to work through a solution.
A landlord's exact grievance must be stated on the eviction notice itself, along with instructions on how to fix the problem within the time limit. Often, these grievances involve accusations of a tenant breaking terms of their lease, (e.g., failing to pay rent, disturbing neighbors, engaging in illegal activity, making frivolous complaints, etc). It's important to refer to any personal records and compare them to landlord claims.

Eviction Notice Procedure
After receiving a notice, a tenant must respond in a timely, if not urgent, manner.
The typical 30 day eviction notice, as the name indicates, requires a response within 30 days of receiving it. State and local jurisdiction laws, as well as the specific circumstances involved, can also impact how long a tenant has to respond. It will indicate at the beginning of the notice exact time frames, and deadlines to respond will never be upheld in court if a notice did not clearly communicate them to the tenant.
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