As renters, there are rules and regulations that must be adhered to. These are outlined in leases and enforced by landlords and/or management companies. Failure to comply with these guidelines over the course of your lease can cause big problems down the line, with the eventual possibility of eviction. This can make the process of finding the right apartment rental feel daunting, particularly if you are a first-time renter. Educate yourself on what types of actions and behaviors can lead to the start of the eviction procedure so that you can avoid making the simple mistakes so many have made before you. Getting clear on what is expected of you is a great way to kick-start your rental relationship on a positive note.
Common Reasons for Eviction
Life in an apartment rental comes with a lot of responsibilities. Among them, paying your rent on time, taking good care of the property as outlined in your rental agreement, and being the type of neighbor other people are happy to live near. That being said, there are three main types of situations that can lead your landlord to initiate the eviction process.
- Notice to Pay or Quit: If you have failed to pay your rent on time over and over again, your landlord reserves the right to hold you accountable by serving you with a Notice to Pay or Quit. This type of notice will typically give you a certain amount of time to come up with the rent that is owed, plus any additional late fees, by a certain date to avoid further action.
- Notice to Cure or Quit: If you are receiving numerous complaints from your neighbors or landlord, you may come home to a Notice to Cure or Quit hanging on your front door. This type of notice is similar to the first, in that you will be given a certain amount of time to remedy the alleged behavior before further action is taken.
- Unconditional Quit: This is the most serious of the notices you can receive. It basically means that nothing you can do at this point is going to sway your landlord’s decision to proceed with the eviction process.
Luckily, in any of these cases, landlords are typically required to offer their tenant’s a 30-day Notice of Intent, informing you of the possibility of receiving one of these notices. Take it seriously to alleviate the problem quickly.
The Summons and Complaint
The Summons and Complaint is the next step in the eviction process from your apartment rental and should be taken extremely seriously. This is a legal document requiring a response that should absolutely not be ignored. Failure to acknowledge and respond to this document is essentially a forfeiture of your rights in the case being built against you. Unwillingness to handle this in a professional manner only stands to strengthen your landlord’s position and color the perceptions of authority figures who may be drawn into the case. If you have not hired an attorney up to this point, now is the time to find somebody who can represent your interests in the situation. Your response to the Summons will give you an opportunity to explain your side of the story, after which, you will be scheduled to appear before a judge.
Be Prepared for the Eviction Process
Having access to all of the documentation from the start of your apartment rental term until the present will be crucial in the next steps of the eviction process. Read your rental agreement thoroughly to get clear on whether or not what you are being accused of is sufficiently outlined as a potential reason for eviction. Also read through the outlined eviction procedure to ensure that your landlord has followed the proper avenues and notified you as specified. If emails have been exchanged between you and your landlord, or written complaints have been issued to you, make copies of each of these to bring with you to your court appearance. If you are disputing your landlord’s claims, bring evidence that will support your side. This may include statements from other neighbors, receipts from repairs you’ve had performed, or copies of your cleared checks.
Stay of Execution
If the court deems that you must vacate your apartment rental, you may request a Stay of Execution, offering you some additional time to gather your belongings and make new living arrangements. The time frame allotted will vary from judge to judge, but will typically fall between 1 to 4 weeks.
Searching for an Apartment Rental in the Hattiesburg Area?
Now that you have a better idea of the types of behaviors that could contribute to the possibility of eviction, you know what you need to avoid. If you’re ready to find your perfect apartment rental, contact Hattiesburg Apartments. We are excited to help you find the apartment that feels like home. Take a look at our database of properties and reach out today to get started.