Explanation of Tenant Rights During an Eviction
The proper notices to the tenant regarding their rental agreement violations have been received. The tenant has been taken to court, had their case heard, and their defense was rejected. The judge has ordered them out of the rental property and a Writ of Possession has been asked for and received. An eviction is going to happen. Here are the general rights of the tenant at this point.
1. Tenants Still Have a Right To Their Personal Possessions.
How this is handled depends on local landlord/tenant laws. Some evictions have law enforcement officers placing personal possessions at the curb. Others require the landlord to protect those possessions for a certain number of days. In almost every circumstance, personal possessions can't just be discarded immediately upon an eviction.
2. Tenants Still Have a Right To Their Security Deposit.
This may even be true if the tenant is past due on rent. An eviction is treated just like any other end of lease situation is treated. The unit is restored to a livable condition and repairs that don't fit into normal wear and tear are chargeable against the security deposit. Any legal fees from the eviction may be in a separate judgment. This also depends on local landlord/tenant laws.
3. Tenants May Have a Right To a New Residence.
Depending on the reason for the eviction, the tenant may have the right to have their landlord find them a new residence. This is typically only for evictions that are initiated because of building improvement needs.
4. Tenants May Have The Right To File An Appeal.
If the past due rent for a certain amount of time is placed in a security bond, including any legal fees that may be owed, then some jurisdictions allow tenants the right to appeal an eviction as long as the Writ of Possession has not been enforced.
5. Tenants Have The Right To Stay Until Law Enforcement Removes Them.
Although it is recommended that tenants leave a property with their possessions as soon as a Writ of Possession has been received and a notice given by the local Sheriff's office, tenants do have the right to stay in that rental unit until they are forcibly removed if they so desire. Any “self-eviction” techniques used are almost always considered illegal. This explanation of tenant rights during an eviction isn't meant to condone actions that would break a lease or encourage such behavior. It is simply used to show that until law enforcement removes a tenant forcibly or they leave on their own that there are certain rights that must be given to avoid further conflict.
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