Eviction from private housing

If you have received eviction papers, you might have more timeand optionsthan you think. But you must take action. Otherwise, your credit and future housing could be at risk.

A note on COVID-19: In some courts, eviction hearings have been delayed due to COVID-19. If you have received court papers, you should check their website or call to see if your eviction hearing has been delayed.  To find your local court go to the Local Government and Community Resources on this page. 

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

If you’ve received eviction papers, here’s how you can protect yourself.

Know this: eviction from subsidized housing or from a mobile home park is different. Learn more about what to do if you’re facing eviction from subsidized housing or from a mobile home park.

If you’ve received papers, first, figure out what kind of papers you have received. Knowing that will let you know how serious the situation is right now, and guide your next step. 

A formal three-day notice

This is often called a Notice to "Leave the Premises." It will always include this paragraph:

"You are being asked to leave the premises. If you do not leave, an eviction action may be initiated against you. If you are in doubt regarding your legal rights and obligations as a tenant, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance."

If you don’t move out in three days, your landlord can file an eviction case against you in court. You want to try to avoid this. A case filed against you in court could make it hard to get credit or housing later.

A formal three-day notice means you have about a month until your stuff can be set out on the street. There are two things you should do at this stage:

  • Negotiate with your landlord
  • Or if you can try to move out before the landlord files for eviction

Learn more about what happens after you get formal eviction papers.

An informal warning letter.

A informal letter will usually not include this language. It is just a warning. View it as an opportunity to negotiate with your landlord to avoid further action.

A court summons.

You will only receive a summons if you’ve received a formal three-day notice.  

The hearing will probably be scheduled for about two weeks later. Learn more about fighting an eviction and how to get ready for a hearing.  Some municipal courts have help centers to assist tenants.  See Local Government and Community Resources below to see if there is a help center in your area.  

If the summons has the words "second cause" written on it, even in small print, that means that the landlord is also suing you for money. Learn what to do if your landlord sues you for money.

Forms and Letters

Find forms and letters that you can fill out yourself.

Local Government and Community Resources

Find courts and helpful resources in your community.