Got an Eviction Notice? Here’s what to do

The first step taken in the legal process by a homeowner when eviction proceedings began is to serve a quit notice. When people received an eviction notice, this period can be full of emotions and worries due to the uncertainty that comes with it.

Tenants who got served quit notice should know that there are ways to go around the situation. It doesn’t matter whether the tenant expected the eviction notice or not; it can leave them with a very emotional and uncertain experience. Even though it might be hard for you to know what next to do, knowing your rights and pursuing it immediately is very important. Your landlord will have to terminate your tenancy before he can evict you. This implies that you would be formally notified.

The landlord can then proceed to file a lawsuit if you fail to move after being served an eviction notice or you fail to make amends of your ways. This type of lawsuit is also known as a UD lawsuit or unlawful detainer. The landlord must prove to the court that you breached the tenancy agreement to win the lawsuit.

Moving Feedback has taken its time to gather everything you need to know concerning your eviction notice, as well as the reason you got served (if it looks like a mystery to you), why it may be real or not, and the right steps to take, all in this guide.

Got an Eviction Notice? Here’s what to do

In this article

Different Types of Eviction Notice

There are different types of eviction notices. The type of notice you received will determine your response as well as the amount of time you have left. Below are the four most popular types of notices.

Notice to Vacate

If you are living in a city with no laws guiding rent control, there will be no need to give a reason for eviction. Tenants only have the grace of 1-3 months when served a vacate notice.

Pro Tip

Your landlord may be planning to increase the rent or expect the tenants to be more committed. Make sure you talk to your landlord to figure out if there are things you can do to avoid being evicted.

Notice to Change or Quit

This is your landlord’s unique way of notifying you of your breach of a lease agreement. A certain time will be quoted for you to reform your ways. The prevalent situation is subletting a room and allowing pets that are against the lease agreement.

Pro Tip

Amend your ways to be on the right part with your lease agreement. Once this is done, you should go ahead and inform your landlord of what you’ve done and ask him to walk through the apartment with you.

Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate

You will be given a specific time to pay your rent when served this eviction notice. It varies from one location to another. States like Connecticut permits just three (3) days, while others such as Arizona allow five (5) days.

Pro Tip

Make sure you pay the specified amount before the deadline. Late fees may be included in this amount. States like California do not charge late fees on pay-or-vacate notices. Make sure you check with your state’s authorities to know if you will be asked to pay the late fees.

Unconditional Quit Notice

These are the most punishing of all eviction notices. There is no going back on the decision that the tenant must vacate the property within a specified time. Tenants who have caused damage to the property or committed some crimes on it are served these types of notices. Unconditional quit notices are applicable in some states only when you have:

  • violated the important lease or rental agreement more than once
  • take longer to pay rent more than once
  • caused serious damage to the property or its premises
  • engaged in criminal acts within the premises

Pro Tip

Talk to your landlord if there are ways you can make amends to this situation. You will have to get ready for eviction in court if there is no remedy.

How to handle Eviction Notice

Handling an eviction notice is a very hard thing to do regardless of your situation. However, being served eviction notice doesn’t mean you must vacate the house the next day; you only need to know how to handle it. Below is what to do next when served an eviction notice.

1. Check the Validity of Your Notice

Although the rules on your tenancy agreement will determine the content of your notice, it must, however, be collected from your landlord. Make sure you check for mistakes on your eviction notice, such as the wrong name or address. So, what should you do with it?

  • In case of an invalid notice

This is the first step to buy time for yourself if your landlord makes such mistake. You will be given a new and valid notice if your landlord actually wants you out of your home. This will give you more time to spend in your home. You can as well use this extra time to sort out the problem with your landlord if they give you reasons for the eviction.

The court, in some situations, might proceed with the case regardless of the mistake in the notice. You don’t have to take any step if you have an invalid notice. Your landlord will be left to begin the court process if you are still in the home by the date specified on your notice.

Court papers and a defense form will be issued to you, and you can use that against the eviction. State on the form all the reasons behind the invalid status of the notice.

  • In case of a valid notice

You cannot be made to vacate your home until the landlord gets a possession order as well as a warrant for eviction from court. Make sure you continue paying your rent till then. Except you challenge the eviction by filing a defense form, there won’t be a need for a court hearing if your landlord applied for accelerated possession.

A copy of your landlord’s application for accelerated possession would be sent to you if they applied for it. This is only permitted if you receive a section 1 notice. A defense form will be given to you along with your court papers immediately the date stated on your notice has passed. You will be able to explain in detail the unfair treatment of the defense form.

2. Check at your Lease

There are clauses on every lease that states what happens next in case there is non-payment of your rent after you breach the agreement terms. Clauses related to the eviction and the level of notice your landlord must give you must also be stated there.

You can, therefore, appeal an eviction notice if it violates any of the clauses stated in your lease as well as seek the help of a landlord-tenant attorney. Make sure you have enough evidence at your disposal before you meet with your attorney to save some time and expenses.

3. Talk to your Landlord

Start talking to your landlord to see if there are options immediately you receive a valid and conditional eviction. If there are rent payments to be settled, ask your landlord on how to proceed with it.

If there are any other terms to agree on, discuss with your landlord to see if you can reach a compromise together. Although it is very tough to stay calm through the discussion, make sure you are not too aggressive so you can achieve the desired result.

4. Create a Plan

Kindly note that the process involved in an eviction is usually long, and some states allow the landlord to evict without hearing from the tenants or allow them to make amends. It is important to immediately start to figure out where you will be staying if you are definitely moving out of the home.

Your situation may require you to rent a storage unit and/or look for a realtor. Make sure you do this without wasting time. Planning ahead will help you a lot.

5. Take it to Court

Your last option in this situation, if you feel that your landlord has evicted you wrongfully is to take the case to court for a legal settlement. However, filing a lawsuit is a very long and tough process; you might just consider leaving the house instead, even if you are wrongfully evicted.

FAQs about Eviction Notice

Rights of Maine Renters: This explains comprehensively what landlords must do in different rental cases to evict tenants legally. Below is a quick summary of the rules:

Eviction Notice:

A written Eviction Notice, also known as “Notice to Quit” must be issued to you by your landlord. The notice will state that you have to vacate the property between 7 to 30 days if your lease has expired.

If you still have a lease, then the type of notice your landlord has to give you will be stated in the lease. A verbal eviction notice is illegal. Safeguard your eviction notice.

There is a difference between an Eviction Notice and a court order. Your landlord needs a court order before he can evict you from your home. These rules may not be applicable if you reside in a rooming house.

Call the police immediately you notice your landlord tries to evict you without a court order. If the police refuse to help, contact Pine Tree Legal. Your landlord needs a court order to shut your utilities, change the locks, or evict you from the house.

Court Papers:

Your landlord has the right to file court eviction papers when the time stated in your eviction notice expires (mostly 7 to 30 days). This type of court case is also known as Forcible Entry and Detainer.

The Deputy Sheriff must serve you with Summons and Complaint on your landlord’s order. The officer must endeavor to deliver the court papers by hand at least three times on three separate occasions.

If that was not effective, then the landlord can send the notice to your mail and also drop a copy at your doorstep or paste it on your front door where you can easily find it.

The landlord will then be required to file an affidavit with the court stating the steps they’ve taken to inform you of the notice. Come along to the court with these papers.

If you need legal assistance after receiving these eviction papers and you reside in Maine, contact Pine Tree Legal. The legal aid organization in your locality can also help if you stay out of Maine.

Eviction based on Court Judgment:

The date and time of the hearing will be stated in your court eviction papers. You need to go to court if you want to appeal the eviction. You are permitted to ask questions from your landlord, show evidence, and bring witnesses in court to buttress your point.

Be sure to come along with all the court papers you received alongside your lease or rental agreement. Your landlord may still make an effort to evict you from the house even if you think they are wrong.

Regardless of your situation, you can be evicted from your home. Only the court can decide if you are to be evicted or not.

You can appeal the eviction case if you lose in court. A Writ of Possession will be issued to you by the Deputy Sheriff if you fail to appeal 7 days after you lose the case. This eviction order is from the court. You only have 48 hours to vacate the property.

Make your own decision. Discuss with your landlord or the landlord’s attorney to settle the eviction case if you desire more time in the house before you vacate. There are legal steps to be taken by your landlord before you can be evicted. The process will take at least 14 days, exceeding the first move-out date stated in the first eviction notice.

So if you desire more time in the house, make sure you go for it. Your landlord should be able to give you the extra time you need as you would be moving out later without him going through the stress involved in the legal eviction.

Read the article that explains the things to do if you plan to move but need to spend more time in the home before agreeing to a particular date. Be sure to think deeply if you really believe you can win the case and prevent your eviction before you fight the eviction in court.

Discuss with your landlord to see if they can come up with a payment plan that will allow you to meet up with your rent. Make sure any agreement by your landlord is put into writing.

It will also help you and your landlord if you both sign and put a date on the agreement. You may find help from one of the places below if your landlord did not agree to this arrangement:

Family Crisis Assistance Program (FCAP) – Emergency Assistance

This program is being managed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). A household that has children and receives low income receives emergency help from this organization.

Their housing emergency help is up to $250.00. This can be used to block your eviction by applying it toward back rent or a security deposit. This program will also help to prevent your utilities from being shut off by providing up to $150.00.

You have only a month to get all the emergency help in place. The program will not be available to you again until after a year.

It is, therefore, essential to request for information on everything they can help you with and make sure you apply accordingly within that 30-days window.

Contact the Maine Department of Human Services office in your area to apply. Your utility company or town office may also take the application.

Alternative Aid

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is also in charge of this program. It provides emergency help for families with children. It provides four months of TANF assistance to help solve emergency issues (including eviction) that may cause you to lose or not get a job. Contact the Maine Department of Human Services office in your area to apply.

General Assistance

This welfare program is available in every town or city. Your local town will help you if your income is too low to cater for your basic needs, and also less than the minimum assistance.

Your town or city must ensure they assist you by all means; to make sure you have basic needs such as heat, food, shelter, medicine, and so on.

However, you may be required to show the town how you spent your income on basic needs for the last 30 days before you can be eligible.

Your time should be able to provide you with assistance on the first month’s rent if you are being evicted from your home by your landlord, or assist with your back rent, case of emergency.

Contact your local town authorities to apply. You can place a call to the Special Services Unit, also known as General Assistance Hotline, at the DHHS on 1-800-442-6003 for further information on how to apply.

Red Cross, Homeless Shelter, or Salvation Army 

You can receive assistance on emergency housing from your local Red Cross, Salvation Army, or Homeless shelter.

Being served an eviction notice as a tenant can be so frightening and challenging. An eviction notice is being served by the landlord only when they feel it is the last resort in the current situation. Sometimes, there is no other way to settle an issue between the landlord and a tenant except through the eviction notice.

However, if the landlord and the tenant keep the communication line open between them, there may be no need to go through the eviction process before they sort out issues.

There are possibilities that most issues may be resolved when there is communication between the two parties without legal action. It is also important for the tenant to know that there are specific steps to take when served eviction notice to slow down the legal process in order to make the right choice even in this situation.

This stressful event can be managed perfectly when you have a clear understanding of how the process works and the legal options available for you. If there is no other option for your eviction notice than to move out, you may need a moving company to help you out.

Check our post on cheap moving companies.


Kindly note; you have no much time to waste on your eviction notice. In most cases, you are expected to respond quickly and some within five days. When you ignore an eviction notice, it will definitely work at your disadvantage, most notably when you take the case to court. Make some research to see if there are legal options available to you if you seek legal assistance.

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