Summary: If you're in the process of being evicted, you probably don't know what to do. Can you even stop it? Luckily, you can stop an eviction lawsuit by filing a Motion to Dismiss if you have already paid all your rent or your landlord never properly served you with an eviction notice or the Summons and Complaint for the lawsuit. Alternatively, if an eviction judgment has already been made against you, you can try filing a Motion to Vacate to have the court order reversed.
Are you currently in the process of being evicted? Have you already been evicted? The receipt of an eviction order doesn't mean a tenant should vacate the house immediately. On the contrary, it's just the beginning of the legal process. As a tenant, there are steps you can employ to stop the eviction order. Keep reading to find out what you can do to reverse an eviction.
Here are some common reasons for eviction
Typically, there are two types of evictions. The first is when the tenant breaks the lease by falling behind on rent payments or violating any of the other agreements in the lease.
The second is a no-fault eviction, which occurs when the landlord plans to end the month-to-month rental agreement or breaks the lease without cause. For the first scenario, the tenant has a few remedies to reverse the expulsion:
Pay rent owed.
Remedy the broken agreement by the date provided in the notice.
Paying rent owed by the deadline is the easiest way to reverse the order if you are a tenant getting evicted for rent arrears. If you pay the amount after receiving a summons and complaint, you'd need to pay:
For the rent owed (including rent accruing after getting the notice)
Interest on the amount owed
The cost of filing the case
This cost includes expenses incurred when the landlord served the papers, such as purchasing the summons and complaint form and filing them in court. Note the landlord shouldn't include the cost of hiring an attorney or serving the eviction notice. Luckily, the law provides some flexibility on when you need to pay rent. You can pay:
On or before the answer or hearing date
On or before the date on the eviction order
Before the eviction date
After the eviction date but before the authorities lock you out
Pay your rent before the Answer deadline or hearing
When a landlord wants to evict a tenant, they'll serve you with a Notice to Terminate Tenancy. The notice shows the amount owed, how the amount is calculated, and the date you're required to move.
If you pay this amount within the deadline set in the notice, the eviction order is reversed. Tenants paying rent daily or weekly must pay within seven days. It's essential to get a written and dated receipt for the amount you paid and a written agreement from the landlord to dismiss the case. Showing these documents at the hearing provides grounds for dismissal.
Pay your rent on or before the date of the eviction oreder
Let's say you are unable to come up with the funds by the hearing. You can also reverse the eviction order by paying on or before the date you're supposed to move. In this case, the tenant must pay the whole amount shown on the eviction order and the rent due after the eviction order was served. Since this amount isn't included in the order, you may need to add it when paying.
If you send payment to the landlord, make sure that you have a record of the payment and request their written confirmation of receipt.
You should also file a Motion to Cancel the Eviction Order to prevent mistakes that may cause the Sheriff to evict you. In your Motion, you will want to state when and how you made payment to the landlord. When you file a Motion, you are also required to file an Order. The Order form is the document the judge signs stating that your motion is granted, and the eviction is reversed or that your motion is denied.
In this case, a hearing may or may not be necessary, depending on your court. However, the court will seek to confirm that you took the actions stated in the motion and ensure that you paid enough to void the eviction order. The tenant must also send a copy of this order to the Sheriff's office to avoid eviction.
File a Motion to Dismiss the Eviction Order
You're probably wondering how to stop eviction after court order. Another way a tenant can reverse an eviction order is to file a Motion for Dismissal. If the landlord hasn't followed the outlined steps when issuing the eviction order in court, you can file a motion to have the case dismissed before trial. The best time to file the motion is on or before the deadline to file the answer shown on the summons. You may want to file a Motion to Dismiss:
When the landlord fails to send proper notice to move out.
If the landlord didn't serve you with the Summons and Complaint properly.
You have paid all the rent owed.
Before you file your motion, file your Answer and send a copy to the landlord or their attorney. Once you've followed all the rules, this enables the judge to rule in your favor.
However, if the judge fails to promptly issue a ruling or denies your Motion to Dismiss, you must still file your Answer on time and prepare to appear in court on the trial date. Be sure to highlight reasons you believe the case should be dismissed.
Let's consider an example.
Example: Karen receives a Summons and Complaint for an eviction lawsuit, but she never received a eviction notice. In response to the Summons and Complaint, she files a Motion to Dismiss where she explains that the eviction notice was never properly served. The court dismisses the case, and Karen's landlord has to restart the eviction process from square one.
If you've already received a judgment order in your case, all is not lost. You can file a Motion to Vacate Judgement (also known as a Motion to Set Aside Judgment) to reverse the court's decision if any of the following apply in your case:
If the landlord wrongfully evicted you
If you've settled with your landlord
If the landlord did not provide you with the notice or proper notice of eviction
If any of these apply to you, you should file a Motion to Vacate the judgment. Look up the Landlord and tenant laws in your state. Suppose you have reason to believe that you were wrongfully evicted, or your landlord did not take the proper action to evict you. In that case, you should notify the court of this immediately via a Motion to Vacate the judgment. If you file this type of motion, you also need to file an order. This order will document the judge's decision stating if they agreed to the motion or denied it.
Let's take a look at another example.
Example: Matthew's landlord tried to serve him with a Notice to Vacate in Texas, but Matthew never received the notice. Additionally, the landlord must wait three days before filing an eviction lawsuit, but he filed it the same day as the Notice to Vacate. When Matthew finds out that his landlord has filed an eviction lawsuit against him, he isn't sure what to do. In Texas, you only have 14 days to respond to this type of lawsuit, and Matthew didn't know that. The landlord requests a default judgment against Matthew for failing to respond to the case, and the court grants it. After doing some research and investigating Texas laws, Matthew decides to file a Motion to Set Aside Judgment where he explains that he didn't have enough time to respond to the lawsuit because of the issues with the Notice to Vacate. The court reverses the judgment, and Matthew has another chance to fight the lawsuit.
Getting evicted or receiving an eviction notice can be a terrifying experience if you don't know what to do. If you've already been evicted or you are in the process of being evicted, we hope these insights give you some steps you can take to reverse the eviction process.
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