What to Do if You Get Evicted From Your Apartment

Jon Fesmire |

Moving is tough enough when you have plenty of time to set aside enough money for your deposit, research places you want to live, make sure that your kids will be in a good school, and so on.

Contrast that with having to move in one to two months with little money saved. There are a variety of reasons you may have to move suddenly, but for this article, we’ll tackle the most common reason: your landlord has evicted you from your apartment.

Let’s cover both the legal process and how you can acquire a new place and move successfully.

You Have a Month or Two

First, we encourage you to look up the specifics about being asked to move or being evicted in your state. For the purposes of this article, we’ll use California’s process as a baseline.

If you’re asked to move, depending on how long you’ve lived at your current place, your landlord will give you one month or two months. If that time is up and you still occupy the home, your landlord can file with the court to have you evicted. You still have to pay your rent for that month or two, of course. If you don’t, your landlord can give you a three day notice to “pay or quit,” and if you don’t pay your rent, they can file a legal eviction after three days, even if the period of time in the original letter hasn’t yet passed.

After an eviction is filed with the court, you will receive a copy of it, and you have five days to respond, if you want to challenge it. If you don’t, and you’re still at the home, the court will schedule a date for a hearing. Chances are, the landlord will win that hearing. The court will then ask the local police or sheriff to lock you out. Law enforcement will give you a letter letting you know that you have five days to get out, or you will be locked out and unable to get your things.

You don’t want an eviction to go to its court date. If it does, it goes on your rental record and makes it more difficult to rent at all.

Getting Financial Help

People may tell you that you should have saved enough money for a deposit, but if you don’t have it, don’t feel bad. Keep in mind that nearly 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. It can be tough to get ahead. If you don’t have deposit money, there are some things you can try.

The first is to find out how to apply for deposit assistance from any of the organizations that offer it. It’s okay to apply to more than one. They may have specific requirements for what kind of rentals they will help with. For example, they may require a six month or a year lease. If that’s the case, when you start applying for apartments or homes, let the apartment managers or landlords know. Also, ask at each place where you apply to rent if they will take third party deposit assistance. Some places may not.

If you are having a difficult time finding a place that can help, or if the deposit assistance agency won’t tell you how much of the deposit they can pay, it’s time to let members of your family know that you may need some financial help. You might also want to consider starting a GoFundMe campaign. While many people are having a difficult time making ends meet these days, often people can spare a little to make sure a friend is able to have a roof over their heads. Share your campaign with your family and Facebook friends.

Finally, consider picking up a temporary, extra job over the course of the month or two. Yes, it will be tough doing extra work, and your situation may not allow for this option. However, it can really add to your income for a short period of time and help you get through this period. There are a variety of temp agencies in various fields along with gigs such as Uber, Postmates and TaskRabbit.

Take Care of Yourself

We have many other articles to help with your actual move, from how self-storage makes moving easier to how to complete a move in less than 24 hours, so if you need more moving tips, please feel free to peruse the blog.

This article is about how to cope with the stress of a sudden move. We’ve covered the importance of knowing your rights and how to make sure you can afford your move, both things that can help ease your worries.

We have a few more suggestions for dealing with the stress. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust. This could be your best friend, your therapist, a sibling, or someone else. When we think about our problems, they stay in our heads. When we talk them out, we feel better. Though you will want to be careful with your money, if spending a few dollars on an ice cream sundae will help ease your worries, or if sitting back and listening to music will help, then do those things. It’s easier to focus on everything you need to do in order to move successfully when you allow yourself time to let the worries wash away. You can do this.