Payment plans now available. Click here for more information.

How A Lawyer Can Help If You Are Being Evicted - Even If You Haven't Paid Rent

Frankie Grijalva
Frankie Grijalva Golden Gate University School of Law 2L
Frankie Grijalva graduated from Whittier College in 2019 with degrees in Business Administration and Economics, is currently a 2L Law Student, and loves to oil paint in her free time.
  • Image by
    Tumisu from Pixabay
How Lawyers help in eviction
Time is ticking.

The federal moratorium on residential evictions expires July 25.  At that point, landlords across the country can legally provide tenants with a notice to vacate a property. Sometimes, depending on the state and city you live in and if you win or lose in court, you'll have a few months to actually leave. In other cases, it may be a matter of weeks. 

A lawyer can help you delay the process, or help you stay in your home. And a lawyer's help doesn't have to cost a lot of money. 

A history of eviction moratoriums

The CARES Act, passed by Congress on March 27th, placed a 120-day eviction moratorium on all housing that receives government subsidies or any home that has a federally-backed mortgage. 

Note the key words here: government subsidies or federally backed loans.

According to the National Housing Law Project, over 70% of all US mortgages are federally backed or owned. 

Unfortunately, some states have already begun the process of filing tenant evictions on the other 30% rentals:
Too many tenants simply give up when they receive an eviction notice - especially if they haven't been paying rent (and it's understandable why you haven't been, if you lost your job due to Covid-19). 

In New York City, when tenants represent themselves, they are evicted almost 50 percent of the cases. With a lawyer, they win 90 percent of the time.

Here at Court Buddy, we want to help you avoid eviction. We can match you with a lawyer who specializes in fighting eviction for as little as $249 (or 4 interest free payments of $62.25). 

Our affordable payment structure will likely cost you less money than fighting your landlord on your own, finding a new apartment, putting down another security deposit and moving. 

But we also understand that you may want some free advice. So we have a guidebook to landlord-tenant issues on our website.

Here, we have also outlined the eviction process. 

1. Notice is Given
There are three ways for a landlord to legally serve you an eviction notice:
  • Personal Service: Handed directly to the tenant
  • Substituted Service: Leave with someone at the home AND mail a second copy
  • Posting and Mailing: Leave on the door where it can easily be seen AND mail a second copy.  
What is "legal delivery" depends on your city and state. If your landlord does not properly serve you the notice, a judge can rule in your favor in court. 

2. Your landlord must fill out a series of forms. 

The number and types of forms will vary based on your loction.

Your local court may require you fill out other local forms, so check with your court’s clerk office.

3. Your Landlord Must File Complaint with the Court

The landlord must make 2 copies of Summons and Complaint and turn them into the court clerk. The landlord must pay a fee, which varies by location.

The clerk will will stamp all documents “Filed” and one of the copies is given to the tenant.

4. Serve Papers to Tenant and File Proof of Service with Court

There are three ways to serve a tenant:
  •  Personal service: Tenant is served in person. If the tenant does not accept the documents, the server may leave them as close as possible.
  • Substituted Service: CANNOT use this unless tried personal service at least 2 or 3 times prior.
  • Posting/Mailing: CANNOT use unless court gives permission. Once mailed a copy must also be posted on the property where tenant will see it. 
5. Tenant may Respond to Complaint

A tenant has a certain number of days to respond to the paperwork, depending on how they were served the paperwork. Usually, a tenant has 5 days to respond if the paperwork was received in hand. 
If substituted or mailing, the tenant usually has 15 days after the date the server mailed the court papers.

6. Eviction Trial

Once an answer is filed, a Request to Set Case for Trial is filed.
The trial date will depend on a number of factors, including how backlogged the court is due to Covid-19. 

If the Landlord wins:
  1. A judge will grant landlord a judgement of Possession, which gives them possession of the property.
  2. The Landlord will file a Writ of Execution. Once filed, it may be taken to the Sheriffs. The Sheriffs will be allowed to remove and lock the tenant out of the property.
  3. The Sheriff will serve tenant with Notice to vacate the property. The tenant has 5 days to leave. If not,  the sheriff may return to remove tenant and lock him/her out.
If the tenant wins:
  1. The Judge decides the tenant has legal right to stay on property.
  2. The Landlord may be ordered to pay the tenant’s costs.
  3. The Judge may decide how much rent the tenant has to pay.
7. After Judgement

If either party does not agree with the judgement, an appeal may be filed.
If the tenant needs more time to vacate the property, they may request a Stay of Eviction.

Evictions are not automatically reported to credit agencies. 

However, if a landlord turns to a collection agency to reclaim back pay, this will appear on your credit report.

Also, judgements on eviction trials are public record.  Future landlords or creditors may view this information, which can damage your chances for getting a new rental or securing credit.  

If this makes you feel overwhelmed, consider reaching out to us. 

Court Buddy is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. The company assists with the management of your case and lawyer relationship. Your lawyer will assess your legal issue in a timely and confidential manner, explain why you need or do not need a lawyer, and only charge you for the legal services performed and associated out of pocket fees. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.


Ready to get started? We’re here to help.

Related Blogs

  • Sona Sulakian
  • |
  • 24 September, 2020
What You Need To Know About Selling A House Or Condo In New York

According to The Balance, the average American homeowner moves every five to seven years. Putting your house, condo or apartment on the market fo...

  • Cassidy Chansirik
  • |
  • 21 September, 2020
What You Need To Know About Buying A Home In New York

Despite the havoc COVID-19 is causing around the world, it hasn't destroyed the real estate market in this country - especially in New York S...

  • Cassidy Chansirik
  • |
  • 15 September, 2020
What You Need To Know About Buying A Home In California

Buying a home is a life milestone that comes with many responsibilities, and it can seem daunting. This is especially true if you’re a firs...

  • Patty Lamberti
  • |
  • 08 September, 2020
The New Federal Eviction Moratorium: It's Not As Simple As It Seems

On September 4, President Trump issued a federal moratorium on residential evictions. The Executive Order stops all landlords from evicting most ...

  • Carlee Sutera
  • |
  • 07 September, 2020
Top Five Things To Never Say To A Landlord

If you’re a renter, you know how hard it can be to find the perfect apartment. Once you do, meeting the landlord and touring the place is s...

  • Victoria Pappas
  • |
  • 03 September, 2020
Can You Be Charged Late Fees Or Evicted In A Mobile Home Park?

This week, President Trump signed an executive order halting evictions in residential properties. While this order will seemingly protect renters...

Hablamos Español

Hablamos Español

Still have questions?

Call us toll-free at (866) 653-3017 to speak with a Client Success Specialist today.

Hablamos Español

Hablamos Español

Overall great experience from beginning to end! On the plus, I won my case!"

Overall great experience from beginning to end! On the plus, I won my case!"

Jonathan R, California

Court Buddy made it easy for me to handle my tough court case. I feel like I'm not alone."

Court Buddy made it easy for me to handle my tough court case. I feel like I'm not alone."

Silvia S, California