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What does eviction mean?

An eviction is when a landlord who owns a property removes a tenant who is occupying that property. A formal eviction requires the tenant and landlord to go through a legal process.

Evictions may occur if the tenant does not follow the rules agreed to in the landlord’s lease, and in some areas, landlords do not need a reason to evict. Tenants may be evicted for a number of reasons, including not paying rent, destruction of property, illegal activity, disrupting other tenants on the property, or violating rules of a lease.

Evictions Housing Help

Curated questions and answers about common Evictions concerns.

How does the eviction process work?

Each state has differing laws on specific policies, but the general process is the same in every jurisdiction.

1. First Warning

If the lease has been violated, some landlords may talk to the tenant informally to work out a resolution before starting the legal eviction process. Not all landlords do this, but the legal process may be skipped altogether if an agreement can be made.

2. Formal Notice

The first legal step would be a formal notice sent by the landlord for the tenant to either comply with the lease, or to vacate the property. Depending on the area and situation, the landlord may not be required to have a reason for eviction, and there may be no opportunity to comply with the lease after a certain rule has been broken (such as drug use and destruction of property).

This notice would tell the tenant how long they have to move out or comply before the case is brought to court. The tenant cannot be formally evicted until a court hearing, and may stay in the property until there is a judgement on the case. However, the tenant may move out if they prefer to avoid going to court.

It is important to know what is required of landlords to evict in your area. A lawyer can clear up the laws specific to your jurisdiction. Tenants who are looking for free or low-cost legal aid can find resources on USA.gov’s website.

3. Go to court

The landlord would file their eviction with the local courthouse if the tenant has not compiled or moved out by the required date. A hearing would be scheduled to hear both the tenant’s and landlord’s stories. It is recommended for both parties to have documents supporting their case to give them the best chance of the ruling going their way.

If the case is ruled in favor of the landlord, the tenant will be given a date that they must leave the property. This will usually be anywhere between two days, to a week, depending on the area.

4. Leave the property

The offending tenant will be required to move out by the date mandated by the courts. If the tenant remains on the property after this date, the landlord may use local authorities to escort the tenant out.

Depending on the area, the entire eviction process may take anywhere from two weeks to three months.


Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/how-does-the-eviction-process-work

What does a typical eviction notice look like?

There is no typical looking eviction notice, but every notice is required to contain certain information. The information written in the notice matters more than how it is presented.

The notice may have a title with one of the following statements:

  • Eviction Notice
  • Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
  • Notice to Correct a Violation of the Lease or Quit
  • Notice to Quit
  • Notice to Vacate

Within this notice, the landlord is required to state how long the tenant has to move or comply before the case is brought to court. In some states, a landlord may legally give an eviction notice with no opportunity to comply, and the tenant must vacate by the given date.

Some resources may say that an eviction notice should be typed and properly formatted with correct spelling, but this is not always the case. If you receive an eviction notice that does not appear to be professionally written, it may still be considered a legal document, as long as it has the required information.

It is important to know what is required of landlords to evict in your area. A lawyer can clear up the laws specific to your jurisdiction. Tenants who are looking for free or low-cost legal aid can find resources on USA.gov’s website.


Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/what-does-a-typical-eviction-notice-look-like

Can I get evicted for not paying rent?

Yes, renters can get evicted for not paying rent, unless there is a moratorium on evictions for tenants who cannot pay rent on time.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many cities, counties, and states in the country have a moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent; but the policy in some areas has expired, and it will be expiring soon in many other areas.

Can I get evicted from federal housing for not paying rent?

Yes, the eviction moratorium for renters in federal housing properties has expired as of July 25, 2020. However, federal housing participants (including Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher holders) who live in an area with a moratorium on evictions cannot get evicted for not paying rent. It is unknown if the eviction moratorium will be extended for federal housing programs.

You can find out if your area has a moratorium on evictions in effect here.


Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/can-I-get-evicted-for-not-paying-rent

Where can I find help if I got an eviction notice?

A lawyer can help a tenant understand their rights, and be prepared for their court hearing (if the eviction process goes that far). Tenants who are looking for free or low-cost legal aid can find resources on USA.gov’s website.


Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/where-can-I-find-help-if-I-got-an-eviction-notice

Will eviction moratoria be extended?

Some eviction moratoria for not paying rent have been extended in certain areas, but many policies have expired while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

If you rent from a private landlord, many cities, counties, and states in the country have extended their moratorium on evictions; but the policy in some areas has expired, and it will be expiring soon in many other areas.

If you are participating in a federal housing assistance program, the eviction moratorium that expired on July 24, 2020 has not yet been extended. Landlords are currently allowed to serve 30-day eviction notices for nonpayment of rent.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has denied that HUD has authority to extend its eviction moratorium; but housing advocates have sent an open letter to Secretary Carson in late July, informing him that “HUD has the power to declare a moratorium on evictions for all of its programs for the duration of the emergency.” Secretary Carson has still not yet extended the eviction moratorium for federal properties.

This means that a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher holder who rents from a private landlord would still be protected from eviction if they live in an area that has an eviction moratorium in effect.

You can find out if your area’s moratorium on evictions is still in effect here.


Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/will-eviction-moratoria-be-extended

How long does the eviction process take place?

If the tenant complies, the entire eviction process can take as little as a few days to a couple of months, depending on the area. But if the tenant does not comply, it may take several months for the eviction process to complete.

Written Notice

For evictions without cause, a written notice will usually give tenants between 30 and 60 days to move out. This also applies for tenants who have no conditions to correct behavior (such as criminal behavior).

If notice is given to pay rent, usually 3-5 days is given for the tenant to pay the due amount. For other causes that allow an offense to be corrected (like an unapproved pet), the landlord will set their own time frame (which may be only a few days).

If the tenant complies with the written notice, the entire eviction process can usually take between a few days and two months.

Court Filing

The landlord may file their eviction with their local court clerk if the tenant has not moved by the required date, and a hearing will be scheduled within a few weeks after filing. The hearing may be several weeks after filing in busier court systems.

If the tenant moves out after receiving notice about the court hearing, the entire eviction process can usually take about a month or two (sometimes more).

After Judgement

In some areas, if the court sides with the landlord, the tenant may be evicted immediately. But usually the tenant is given between a week and a month to move out.

If the tenant moves out after their eviction judgement, the entire eviction process can usually take a few months.

Refuse to Move

If the tenant refuses to move out after their eviction judgement, it could take up to several weeks for a local sheriff to carry out an eviction. The entire eviction process for situations that come to this point may take several months.


Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/how-long-does-the-eviction-process-take-place

How can an eviction be reversed?

There are ways to reverse your eviction, even if a court has ruled in favor of your landlord.

1. Stop violating lease

If the landlord has just cause for evicting you, and there is an opportunity to comply with the lease before getting evicted, stop performing the act that is the cause of eviction. If you comply by the date given in the eviction notice, your eviction would be reversed.

2. Talk to landlord

Before even stepping into a courtroom, your eviction notice may be reversed simply by talking to your landlord. You may be able to work out an agreement with your landlord (such as paying back rent that’s due with current rent payments).

3. Review eviction judgement

If the court sides with the landlord, but you feel that there was a mistake made in the court’s decision, you may file a legal review.

The exact process varies by state, and there may be more than one option for a formal review. Speak with your lawyer about your options. Tenants who are looking for free or low-cost legal aid can find resources on USA.gov’s website.


Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/how-can-an-eviction-be-reversed

What does eviction do to your credit score?

Being evicted doesn’t directly affect your credit score, but if there is a legal judgement that you owe money to the landlord, that could damage your credit score. Money owed that is not paid to the landlord will likely be sent to a collection agency.

Once the collection agency processes the landlord’s report, it will negatively impact your credit score. A lower credit score may make it more difficult to find housing after eviction.

If your landlord does not report to a collection agency, your eviction should not affect your credit score.


Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/what-does-eviction-do-to-your-credit-score

What is a moratorium on evictions?

A moratorium is the temporary postponement of an activity. A moratorium on evictions means that landlords cannot evict tenants while the policy is in effect. This policy can be enacted at a city, county, state, or federal level.

For example, eviction moratoria were established throughout the country for renters who could not pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.


Link to this FAQ: https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-help/what-is-a-moratorium-on-evictions