How an Eviction Attorney Can Help

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How an Eviction Attorney Can Help

Staff Writer · Jun 24, 2010

An eviction attorney may be your best option when facing an eviction. The outcome of an eviction lawsuit can have a dramatic impact on your ability to rent other apartments in the future. Your landlord may also sue you for back rent and damages that amount to several thousand dollars. If you don’t have money to pay a judgment, your paycheck can be garnished and you could even lose your car. With so much at stake, it’s important to understand how an eviction attorney can help.

Dealing with Your Landlord

There are often a lot of emotions running high when your landlord serves you with an eviction notice, on both sides. It’s helpful to have an eviction attorney deal directly with the landlord, so that you don’t have to. The attorney can respond to notices, questions, issues that come and reach a legal resolution without going to court. If you were to deal with the landlord on your own, it might agitate them and hurt your chances of avoiding court, because your landlord may view any approach as a confrontation. Having a third party involved helps, even though an eviction attorney is on your side.

Formulating a Legal Defense

Fighting an eviction in court means you’ll have to formulate legal defenses. An eviction attorney is legally trained to research and prepare a defense on your behalf, based on case law, knowledge of your local court rulings and state laws. Unless you know how to conduct your own extensive legal research and know the system, you won’t know to raise the types of defenses that can help you stop the eviction. Again, the effects of an eviction extend far beyond your current landlord-tenant relationship. You want to do everything you can to stop it in court, if you don’t want to move out willingly.

Reduce Amount of Money Owed

If your landlord wants to evict you, and has no interest in reaching a resolution, then an eviction attorney can help in reducing the amount of money owed to the landlord. One option is for the attorney to negotiate a lower amount, even though the landlord wants to proceed with the eviction. Another option is to present to the judge effective legal defenses that will persuade the court to lower the back rent and damages owed to the landlord.

Competent Advice

One way that an eviction attorney can help is to give you advice, but remain on the sidelines. You may want choose to represent yourself in court, or handle your own discussions with the landlord for whatever reason. At least book a consultation or two with an eviction attorney to know your legal rights, and how to proceed with your landlord or the case so that you don’t make matters worse. The attorney will charge an hourly rate for the time it takes to meet with you. Before going this route, compare the cost of a consultation with the overall costs of the eviction attorney taking on your case. It may be worth handing the case over, rather than representing yourself in court.

Contact your local bar association to find an eviction attorney. Friends and family members can also be a source for referrals.

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