An Eviction Survival Guide: Moving on Short Notice
Between the years 2000 and 2016, approximately 1 in every 40 renter households were evicted in the United States, which resulted in over 15 million people losing their homes. Although unfortunate, evictions happen every day for various reasons. Here are examples of the top five legal reasons why a tenant may be evicted from their home:
- Nonpayment of rent;
- Lease violation;
- Property damage;
- Illegal or drug-related activity;
- Expiration of lease.
Evictions are typically a hard time for everyone, but there are ways to help ease the process along.
Ask Friends and Family For Help
Asking friends or family for help — especially with finances— it isn’t easy, however, given certain circumstances, it may be necessary. Don’t be scared to ask for help when you need it most, and hopefully, your family will understand. However, when asking for financial help from your family or friends, keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Establish What You Need: To avoid asking for too much or too little, write out how much money is needed and what it is needed for. This will help whoever is being asked to see where the numbers are coming from and that their willingness to help isn’t being taken advantage of.
- Explain What You’re Going to do to Help: If multiple attempts have been made to turn the scenario around, explain why they did or didn’t work and where you plan on going from there. For example, applying for a new or second job, asking for a loan from a bank, or applying for government assistance.
- Create a Payback Plan: Since this is a loan from a friend or family member, it is important to tell them that they will be paid back. Creating a payment plan will reiterate the fact that you’re asking for help, not a handout. Being realistic about the amount that is needed will help to determine how much your payments might be. Ask them first for what they’re able to do to help, and then go from there.
- Offer Your Free Time: Considering offering your help to friends and family in return. Whether it’s babysitting, cooking, cleaning, yard work, car repair, etc. When you extend your free time to them it acts as a sign of gratitude.
- Be Respectful: Don’t make them feel obligated to help; let them know that you don’t need an answer right away and give them time to look over your list of needs. It’s important to understand that sometimes they may not be able to help due to their own financial troubles. Keep this in mind if they tell you no or don’t feel comfortable giving out a loan.
Utilize State Resources
The eviction process is different with each landlord, however, the most common vacate notices are:
- 3-day notice for waste or nuisance;
- 10-day notice to comply with the terms of the rental agreement or vacate;
- 14-day notice to pay or vacate;
- 20-day notice to terminate a tenancy (a “no cause” notice).
This isn’t a lot of time to find a new place, but fortunately, there are state resources that can be utilized to help those in need.
Not everybody may be familiar with how homeless shelters work. Homeless shelters are usually started by a group of individuals that want to help those within their community who are in need. Organizations that run or sponsor homeless shelters create events where the proceeds or donations benefit the shelters. Some of the programs that are offered by homeless shelters are:
- Distribution of basic necessities;
- Meal distribution;
- Provision of shelter;
Typically, those seeking shelter will check-in for the night between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The amount of people that are able to stay varies with each shelter, along with the number of allowable days one is able to stay.
A food bank is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to hunger-relief charities. A variety of factors impact how food banks work, including, the size of the facility, number of staff members, and how many people visit the facility each year. However, they all rely on both donors and volunteers to help them succeed.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, is a federal nutrition program that helps people to stretch their food budget and buy healthy foods. Families can use the SNAP program to purchase eligible food items at grocery stores, convenience stores, and even some farmer’s markets. The funds to purchase these items are transferred to an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card and works similarly to a debit card.
SNAP eligibility takes into consideration a person’s income, expenses, and other non-financial aspects such as age, student status, and immigration status. There is no single guideline that defines a person’s eligibility.
Options for Veterans
Since 2009, the number of homeless veterans has decreased by 48.4%. Thankfully, there are programs to help veterans who are still experiencing homelessness.
- Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs;
- Homeless Grant and Per Diem Program;
- Substance Use Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program;
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program;
- Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence Programs.
Depending on the circumstances of the eviction, finding a place to store personal belongings may be difficult. A storage shed may be needed to secure one’s personal belongings and provide a safe alternative to trying to keep things on hand. Renting a storage shed can be used to house your belongings in the midst of the eviction process and until you find a more stable or permanent housing solution.
Search For a New Home
Current living arrangements after an eviction can only last for so long. Searching for a new place to stay should begin once the minute eviction notice is received. Finding a new place to live can be hard, especially when under pressure. Here is a list of tips for finding a place that best fits you.
- Research Before You Look: Make a list of features that are a must for your future home. Look at different neighborhoods that you’d like to reside in based on their commute, time, school district, recreation, crime, and price.
- Understand Your Financial Situation: Sitting down and working out what you’re able to afford will help you find a home that fits within your finances. It may be tempting to look at neighborhoods outside of your range, but this might add to the stress, especially if you find a home you like.
- Set a Moving Timeline: Know that when evicted, you have a certain amount of time to be completely moved out. This means that when you’re looking for a home, you will want to find a place that will let you move in quickly.
- Be Realistic: It’s okay to be picky about the neighborhood that you want to move in to, however, if it’s not realistic, there's no point in looking. If you have pets, search for a place that is pet-friendly from the beginning. This may help with preventing you from having any discrepancies with your new landlord or having to get rid of your pets.
Being evicted can take a toll on everyone in the family. Even though it may be tough, keeping a positive attitude can help with the overall attitude. Here are ways to stay positive during tough times.
- Focus on the good moments;
- Be thankful for what you do have;
- Reach out to others for emotional support;
- Get enough sleep;
- Try to ignore bad news;
- Spend some time outside;
- Look forward to the future.