An eviction is when a landlord kicks out a tenant before their lease term is up. Most commonly, this is due to the nonpayment of rent, though most lease agreements and applicable state law typically include other reasons a tenant can be evicted. Being evicted is a short process that ends with an eviction judgment.
The eviction judgment is a court order telling the tenant to leave the property. It comes at the end of the eviction process and is sometimes served on the tenant by law enforcement. The eviction process is governed by state law. Most states have a system in place that quickly moves eviction proceedings through the court without undue delay.
I got a letter from my landlord saying I'm being evicted. Is that the same thing as an eviction judgment?
No. The eviction judgment is an order from the court and signed by a judge. Most states require the landlord to send at least one written notice to the tenant before starting an eviction proceeding in the court. If you haven't received a complaint yet, now is the time to speak to your landlord to see if they are willing to negotiate a workout with you.
I know my landlord is trying to evict me but I haven't received an eviction judgment. What should I do?
If you've already been served with a complaint, don't wait to file your answer to it with the court. You likely only have a few days to respond to the complaint. If you're not comfortable answering the complaint on your own, contact a legal aid organization or lawyer in your area for assistance.
Alternatively - and if it makes sense for your situation - you can also file for bankruptcy to deal with the pending eviction. Keep in mind, however, that filing bankruptcy will not relieve you of your obligation to pay rent. It will merely buy you a little time to cure the default if the eviction is due to non-payment of rent. It is not a permanent solution.