Landlords have legal grounds for eviction when the rent is not paid, when there is a violation of the lease terms (for example, no pets, or no loud noises after a certain hour), when the tenant causes significant damage to the property, or if the tenant is doing something illegal on the property. If you are being evicted, you may file a "stay of eviction" (also called a "stay of execution") with the court. A stay of eviction may be granted only if you can prove you suffer an extreme hardship as the result of the eviction.
Request a stay of eviction application form from your local county court Clerk's Office. Your application will state the facts of your eviction, and what steps you have taken since your landlord served you with an eviction notice.
File the completed stay of eviction application form in the Clerk's Office. Once the form is on file, the Clerk with notify you of the date and time of your hearing before the judge.
Be prepared to prove your need to the judge on the day of your hearing. Assemble all supporting financial documentation (bank statements, receipts, letters, notices), the names of any people you have contacted in your attempts to find another place to live, the dates on which you contacted them, and the reason for not renting a place from them.
- The laws regarding tenant rights differ from state to state, so it is smart to consult with an attorney before you are evicted and again for your stay of eviction hearing. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can get free legal assistance from your local Legal Aid Society, or call the local American Bar Association office to ask for a referral.
- Dress conservatively and be respectful of the court during your hearing. Even if you are angry at the landlord, any outburst in the courtroom may have an adverse effect on your case.