Tenants Can Sue for Illegal Evictions, Charge Harassment

What Is Self-Help Eviction?

A self-help eviction happens when a landlord retakes possession of a property without going through the proper, legal process. The use of self-help may end in the landlord being sued and fined for harassment. Nearly every state prohibits a landlord from taking matters into their own hands to evict a tenant. If a landlord needs to evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent or violations of the lease, the only legal way the landlord can make it happen is through a state-law mandated process.

States require landlords to follow strict procedures and laws to evict a tenant. Deviating from the law in the slightest can nullify an eviction attempt. If you don’t do it right, you might have to start over from the very beginning. And violating these laws can result in severe penalties for a landlord and substantive damages for an unlawfully evicted tenant.

Illegal evictions forced by a landlord without correct court authority are called “self-help” evictions. There are many alternative possible ways to do evictions that are against the law, including the following:

  • Turning off heat, electricity, water, or other essential utilities
  • Having the locks changed once the tenant is not home
  • Interfering with the tenant’s happiness in the unit
  • Removing the front door so the tenant does not have a way to secure the premises

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Instead of using landlord harassment and other illegal means to force a tenant to vacate a rental property, a landlord must follow applicable state laws. Though it may take longer and cost some money, it will protect a landlord from hefty fines. But eviction procedures vary in every state.

If You Are A Landlord

Landlords seeking eviction of tenants should check with an eviction lawyer to make sure they follow correct procedures and laws to avoid wrongful eviction. An attorney will assist you in gaining a judicial writ for eviction. The attorney can sit in for you in court so you do not have to spend a lot of time and energy seeking the eviction. If the tenant refuses to move out, an attorney will represent your interests at trial.

If You Are A Tenant

If your landlord has lawfully engaged in any self-help eviction, an Express Evictions lawyer can defend your rights as a tenant. The lawyer can help you collect damages for the illicit behaviour. An attorney can represent you in any ensuing eviction proceedings in court. Though your landlord may have a valid reason for evicting you, they cannot act outside the law. If you think you have become the victim of a self-help eviction, do not tolerate it. Instead, think about these steps:

Get Collaboration From Your Tenants’ Association

If your building has a tenants’ association, tell them about your situation at a succeeding meeting. You may learn that the landlord is treating other tenants in a similar method way or has done so in the past.

Tell Your Landlord to Stop

Send a letter to your landlord detailing the objectionable behaviour and demanding that it stop. If your letter does not get the landlord to desist, it will assist you in creating your case if you go to court.

Hire An Eviction Lawyer

If there is no stopping your landlord from making your life miserable and wanting you off the property, then consult with an attorney. Additionally, if the eviction is unlawful, the landlord can convince a judge to let you remain and force the landlord to pay the penalty for any harassment.

Document Everything

Keep every document that is evidence of the wrong ways in which your landlord has been attempting to get you to move out of the property. Include notes about any action you took to shield your rights, like sending your landlord a letter. Your documents will assist you in court.

Landlords who need to evict a tenant are usually anxious to do so. After all, if a tenant stops paying rent or causes issues at the property, it is sensible that the landlord would need to get a new tenant as soon as possible. But landlords ought to play by the rules once it involves evictions. States and municipalities have laws that spell out the procedures, and landlords who ignore these laws are participating in “self-help evictions” that is against the law.