What to Do If You’re Facing Eviction

By Jessica Hickok

Unfortunately, during this real estate downturn, many people have found themselves in places they never expected to end up — sometimes even being evicted from their home. Evictions can be the result of job loss, which leads to foreclosure or other some misfortune that has added to the statistics of this troubling U.S. economy.

[See "Why Landlords Charge High Security Deposits"]

While it’s never nice to be presented with an eviction notice, there are ways to deal with it gracefully. Even though eviction laws vary from state to state, and every situation is different, there are some things you can do if you find an eviction notice taped to your door.

1. Don’t ignore the notice. Whether the notice is considered a legit, court-ordered notice posted by the sheriff or an “empty threat” note posted by an angry landlord, you MUST respond.

2. Respond with common courtesy. If you feel that the eviction is unfair, then the beauty of this country is that you can have your say in the matter in front of a judge. However, if you really are behind on your payments and/or have broken some sort of agreement to pay (i.e., a lease or mortgage agreement), then you will likely need to have a really good reason for non-payment. But you can’t go screaming, yelling or cussing at the landlord or the judge. Be professional, you’ll get farther with both and maybe find some leniency that is fair. Just be sure that you have your ducks in a row and have documented everything.