If I received a summons for non-payment of rent, how long before I’m evicted?

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If I received a summons for non-payment of rent, how long before I’m evicted?

I lost my unemployment benefits 3 months ago. I am a member of 6 different job sites and I apply for jobs at least 7 times every week. I got behind in my rent and have just been issued a summons and have 5 days to answer. The agencies that help with situations like this are currently waiting on funds. They won’t receive them for another 2 months. Is there anything that I can do to avoid being evicted? How long does the entire process take? Also, can some sort of arrangement be worked out with the property manager to avoid eviction? If not what should I do?

Asked on February 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, eviction proceedings are known as "summary proceedings" meaning that they are expedited proceedings in the courts.  They do not take the usual years - or at least they should not take that long. It really could be a matter of days after the court date.  I would go and see if the court have any free legal clinics or pro bono services to offer.  Check with your local bar association, law schools and tenant's rights organizations.  Go and see legal aid as well. What you need to do is to show the court that you are attempting to gain employment and that you have applied and are applying for what ever financial assistance that you can get to get you through these hard times.  If you can work out a deal with the property manager do so and bring a written agreement to court (but have someone look at it for you before you sign it). 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) Asssuming you don't move out voluntarily, then once you go to court--where, if it is the case that you have not paid your rent, it is essentially certain you will lose--you will probably have another 2 - 3+ weeks after the court date before the actual eviction. So call it around a half month to a month after the court date in this matter.

2) If you have not paid the rent, the landlord has an absolute right to evict you; there is nothing you can do to avoid eviction, though sometimes a court will grant a little extra time to allow you to move out in a more orderly fashion.

3) You can always try to work something out with the landlord; it's up to the landlord, however, to accept a deal, payment plan, etc. or not. The landlord does not have to accept anything less than full rent on time; working out a deal is voluntary.


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