I received a phone call today at 5 pm telling me thatI am being evicted in 4 days, is this legal?

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I received a phone call today at 5 pm telling me thatI am being evicted in 4 days, is this legal?

I have received no prior warnings. I am late with this month’s rent but intend to pay what I owe tomorrow when I get paid. The landlord says they have a court order but I have received no copy of such a document. What can I do?

Asked on July 21, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I need to clarify things here.  So your landlord called you and stated that they have a court order granting them eviction and allowing them to reenter the premises but you never received any notice at all about anything, correct?  I think that you should try and relax about it because I do not think that your landlord is telling the truth.  And if he is then he obtained the order through dubious means.  Go down to the courts and see if there is an action filed against you.  If there is not then there need be any more discussion. Just pay your rent tomorrow.  If he does not accept it then expect a real action against you.  If that happens write back.  If there is an action then ask the clerk to look at the file.  The order was probably granted on default - meaning that you did not appear - and ask the clerk for a motion to vacate the order and allow you to put in an answer. Raise the issue that you were never served. with the required notice to pay or quit band then a proceeding to evict.  The time frame here is too soon really to have a proceeding done.  Good luck to you.      

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your written lease with the landlord controls notice requirements as to his or her attempts to evict you for failure to pay rent. Read your lease's provisions. If there is no mention of notice requirements, most State laws require a notice to pay rent or quit to be served upon you in writing.

Upon service, you would typically have three days or so to pay the money owed and if not, the landlord can file a legal proceeding against you for unlawful detainer. This requires filing a lawsuit, serving you with the summons and complaint, you get an opportunity to file an answer and a trial date.

From the information you have provided me, the phone call is a tactic by the landlord to make you pay the rent owed and does not constitute a legal eviction. I suspect the landlord wants to see if he can make you leave the place being rented on your own free will.

Good luck.


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