What To Do And What Not To Do If You Are Served With An Eviction Notice

Foreclosure

For the sake of brevity, this article is primarily dealing with eviction after foreclosure. Eviction is one of the sad consequences of foreclosure, especially in these hard economic times. It's like a domino effect, you have the economy in dire straits, leading to the loss of employment, foreclosure, at times, is the end result. In the last 5 years foreclosure has reached an all time high, so has the eviction rate.

Eviction

Eviction, what a scary word. It's one thing to leave a home you've lived in for years, or even for a short time, voluntarily, but to be evicted is so disconcerting. Foreclosure is the beginning of the end, and eviction is the end.

Some, when they receive the eviction notice just simply walk away without ceremony. While others choose to stay and fight to the bitter end. Actually there are pros and cons to both. If you have a place to go then walking away without ceremony is the best option. But what if you don't have anywhere to go, then maybe to stay to the bitter end is the way to go. So if you are the latter, you'll need help in this regard. Foreclosure victims cannot unceremoniously be removed from the house without being notified and given an opportunity to defend such an action in court.

The eviction process is multi-fold. After the foreclosure is complete, the eviction process begins.

3 Day Notice To Vacate

The3 day notice to vacate is usually the first phase of the eviction process. Let me back up, in some cases the new owner, bank, or whomever now owns the property that you once called your home will offer you what is called "cash for keys." What that means is they will offer you money to essentially find another place to live. All they ask is that you leave the property in good condition, meaning, don't remove any of the permanent fixtures, make holes in the walls,or damage the property in any way, and leave it as they say, "broom clean," essentially take away all of your personal property, and garbage.

Back to the 3 day notice to vacate, providing you opt not to take the "cash for keys." This notice simply means that you are asked to vacate the property with no problems in three days, and no further action will be taken. However, here is where the real process begins. (Don't worry, the Landlord cannot simply change the locks or take possession of the premises without a Court order or a voluntary surrender of the premises by the tenant). If there has been no compliance by the tenant with the 3 day notice, then the Landlord can begin an unlawful detainer lawsuit "eviction." So if you "choose" to draw it out, the next step is that the unlawful detainer is filed against you.

Unlawful Detainer

Unlawful detainer is a legal action brought by a landlord to obtain possession of the property. It's at this point that you might want to seek help. I'd like to add that an unlawful detainer will go on your credit report. Back to the issue at hand, there are entire industries that have sprung up to help you in these cases, (or in some cases to hurt you). One industry is called Eviction Defense Companies. One such company is "don't walk yet" Of course in all cases you must do your research. These companies say they can help you stay in your foreclosed home for up to six months beyond your first notice, (3 day notice). What they do is file answers to all legal documents filed against. Of course you could do this for yourself, but if you are not legally savvy, it could cost more for you to do it yourself than leave it in the hands of competent legal professionals. As with any claims, don't take it a face value, and part with your money too readily, take your time to check them all out.

After the unlawful detainer is filed, here is where you'll have to check your state's eviction laws, because it varies from state to state. Suffice it to say it's at this time the the court systems could become your friend. Your friend, in the sense that, this is when the time you might need to find suitable lodging is gained. Due to the high volume of foreclosures the court systems are backed up. Not to mention the fact that there are legal time frames. Meaning the law allows time between each legal action.

What Not To Do

The worst thing you can do is, "nothing," especially if you have no place to go. Another thing you don't want to do is to destroy the property, because this is illegal, and in most cases you'll be dealt with harshly.

What doing nothing can cost you after a foreclosure. One: If you do nothing and leave your home for 3 or more days, (vacation, business trip etc.) and your house looks vacant, the real estate company, or owner representative can come in and change the locks, effectively ending your stand-off. Two: Another more horrifying situation that's been in the news lately, is that someone can gain access to your home with an illegal lease and stake a claim, there again you're out, because when the authorities are called you have no recourse because you no longer legally own the property, and they have a lease, albeit illegal. Of course court proceedings can be initiated, using up valuable time.  A real life experience that I heard about. A family went away for a weekend, and forgot to leave lights on, or any signs of occupancy, they came back, everything was alright.  But then they went shopping and came back and the locks were changed.  It happened that quickly.  What had happened was, the Real Estate agent thought, (or so he said), the house was abandoned and this happened to be the third day that he saw no action, so he did what was instructed of him, "change the locks."  Frightening situation, but that's what can happen if no action is taken after the 3 Day Notice to Vacate.

The Sheriffs Order To Evict

After all the court proceedings, appeals etc, are exhausted, the end result is the Sheriffs order to evict, if you let it go that far. Don't do that! You've had months to prepare, don't suffer the last humiliation of being forcibly removed. However, if you do let it get to that point, know that even at that stage you can reclaim your dignity.  In most cases the sheriff will post a notice of eviction on the property, which will indicate the specific date that the locks will be changed and all property is to be removed.  So take advantage of this time and leave with your dignity intact.

Conclusion

As stated previously Eviction is a scary word, but it can be less so with foreknowledge.  Remember, "forewarned is forearmed." So do your research and may all go well with you.

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Comments 24 comments

justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

Great hub Freta, this is all good info. If not for the goofballs on Wall Street and their crooked underhanded greed a lot of good people wouldn't even have to worry about foreclosure or eviction. Very useful hub. Peace!! Tom


Wooded 5 years ago

This is a very good hub. I believe many people will find the answers they need here. It's a shame that this is such a common occurrence at this time. Hopefully your article will get into the hands of those that need it and they can at least find some comfort in knowing what is ahead of them. Voted up


Ikey Zimmerman 5 years ago

This is an excellent article and all the information was fact checked. If you are not an attorney you would be great at it.

Already tweeted this article today and will be re-tweeting it for months. This is the most thorough publishing I have seen this year and definitely ranks in the top 5 I have seen last year in reference to options for tenants living in foreclosed homes.

I would also add, that tenants can make early choices about relocating if they can receive information about the foreclosure filing at the earliest opportunity. All the available data suggest that the foreclosure filings for 2011 will be at a greater rate than 2010. Renters therefore have to protect themselves from coming home to a surprise foreclosure eviction. Renters can stop this abuse of landlords failing to timely disclose by registering their apartment in a foreclosure alert program such as the one offered here by Foreclosure Court, http://www.foreclosurecourt.org/foreclosureprotect...

Again, great article. I really enjoyed reading.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

This is very useful - as evictions/foreclosures are on the increase. Its interesting to know that eviction laws vary from state to state in US.

Best Wishes.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 5 years ago from Southern Arizona

Fastfreta, thanks for the good solid advice. It is heartbreaking to see these things happening, but it seems to be a fact of life. People need to remain level-headed and try not to let emotions get in the way. I just read an article that banks repossessed 1 million homes in the U.S. last year (1 in 45 households received a foreclosure filing) and they are predicting 1.2 million homes will be repossessed in 2011. :(


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

I certainly appreciate the validation that I received for this article. It really is a sad thing to hear of someone losing their home, and I do hope this will help some during this trying time in their lives. Thank you all, Tom, Wooded, Ikey Zimmerman, Lady E, and Linda, for reading and taking time to leave those thoughtful comments.


DTR0005 profile image

DTR0005 5 years ago from Midwest

Very clear, concise, and informative. And it is a tragedy people losing their homes- I see it everyday and it still bothers me. I guess that is a good thing though...


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

I'm with you DTR0005, it bothers me too. Unfortunately the end of this tragedy is not yet. Thanks for stopping and leaving this heartfelt comment.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 5 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you Freta, for a great and very enlightening hub, thank you for sharing. God bless you. creativeone59


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks creativeone59 for stopping and reading, please come back.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

What hearbreak and all because of Wall Street and bankers.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

And you know what Hello, hello, I wonder why they were bailed out if it wasn't to help the homeowners and others in need of help, I'm just saying. Thanks for stopping.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Thanks for sharing. Hope to never need to know this information.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks dallas93444 for stopping and reading. Hope to see you again soon.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

Wonderful and much needed advise in these perilous days. The "too big to fail" lenders are counting on main-streamers not to know any resources that are available. Kudos to to fastreta


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

You're so right Pam, that's exactly what they count on, and thank goodness there's people out there to help. I appreciate you for taking the time to read and leave a comment.


stanrobson profile image

stanrobson 5 years ago

thanks freta for sharing this...


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks stanrobson, please come again.


susanlang profile image

susanlang 5 years ago

Thank you for posting this, the housing laws has always been of real interest to me. I see much of the same no matter which state I'm working in. Most of the complaints I get always the same. You have landlord who cuts corners in order to make money from the investment. So many times housing codes go by the way side and the renter suffers with sub-standard living conditions. Inspections are not done prior to the renter moving in and when something needs to be repaired the renter finds it hard to get the landlord to respond in reasonable fashion. Sadly, when the renter moves-out, often the sec.deposit is reduced as a result of the renter being left holding the bag. However, in all fairness, Ive seen some renters trash a place costing the landlord a small fortune in repairs. So both parties have to find a common ground. I often suggest the renter makes sure an inspection is done prior to moving in and a lease contract is examined carefully. Just my two cents on the subject.. that's all. Thanks fastfreta.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you very much susanlang for weighing in on this subject and validating my research. And thank you so much for stopping, please come again.


Margaret 4 years ago

So, do you know if Don't Walk Yet is legit or not? I have seen 2 different BBB ratings for them, one was an A the other an F? Would appreciate any information you have.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 4 years ago from Southern California Author

Yes they are legit, as far as I know. They were when I used them.


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