No eviction is fun, but some states allow for very short-term evictions that require you to make multiple court appearances and arrangements within a single week. If you're being threatened with eviction after only three or five days, it's essential you make the most of every hour without getting overwhelmed by stress. Follow these simple steps to stay on top of the situation and prepare for either outcome.
Contact A Moving Team
Start by finding a local moving company that offers last minute services instead of requiring you to make a reservation days or weeks in advance. By having professional last minute movers standing by for your call for help, you don't need to stress as much about what you'll do if the eviction goes through and you must move out. Trying to call around and find an emergency moving company 30 minutes before a law enforcement officer arrives to change the locks is a sure-fire way to end up with your stuff stuck inside the home where you can't access it.
Also, having a moving company on hand can help when you're negotiating in court over the details of moving out. If you show the judge you're prepared to remove your belongings and relinquish the space to the landlord, you can often get a few extra days added to the order to reduce the rush of packing and finding a new place.
Pre-Pack The Essentials
As soon as you receive a three, five, or seven day Notice to Quit or a similar document, pack up all your family's essentials. These may include
- Crucial documents like birth certificates, property deeds, and tax records
- Small and easy to transport heirlooms like photo albums and jewelry
- Enough clothing for each family member to go a week without washing laundry
- Medications, medical equipment, and other items crucial for good health.
Even if you're planning to fight the eviction and feel confident you'll win, it's a lot easier to go home and prepare if the judge chooses the landlord's side when the most important items for the family are already packed. You can grab a few boxes and go to a local hotel if you must without feeling as lost and overwhelmed. If there's no time for packing because you're at work when you're not at court, let a moving company handle this task for you.
Stay In Contact Daily
With such a short window of time, you can't let even a single day pass without talking to your lawyer, the landlord, and the law enforcement officers involved in the eviction. A last minute change of heart could leave you signing a lease on a new apartment when your landlord wants you to stay put. Keep in touch with the moving company as well, so they can either prepare as the moving day draws nearer or focus their attentions on other customers if you resolve the problem without relocating.
Make Counter Offers
Unless you're going to use this legal headache as the motivation to find a better place to live, you need to fight the eviction in court or work with the landlord to find an alternate agreement. In most states, the property owners must drop their first eviction claim when you offer to follow a rent payment plan, repair the damage done in violation of the lease, or kick out that unauthorized roommate. Pick an offer and make it immediately so there's time for a discussion and compromise before the eviction runs its natural course and the sheriff shows up.
Finally, don't forget to make copies of every communication with your landlord. You don't want to create a word of mouth agreement about repaying that is denied by the landlord in court and end up evicted anyways. Take pictures of the condition of the place as the movers handle your packing too so you don't end up being sued later for further payments.