Do Evicted Tenants Owe Remaining Rent?

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Facing an eviction is never easy. If you failed to pay your rent on time, your landlord has the right to file an eviction against you. If you lose your eviction case, you will lose your home, your credit may be affected and the judge may decide you have to pay back any unpaid rent that is due to your landlord.

The Eviction Hearing

The legal eviction process varies by state. Typically, your landlord will file a claim against you in court. Once filed, the court will set a hearing date for you and your landlord and notify you of the claim. On your scheduled court date, a judge will listen to both sides of the claim. The judge may decide in either party's favor, but if you do not appear in court, you may lose automatically. Many state landlord and tenant laws allow the judge to side with the landlord automatically if the tenant does not appear.

Judgments

If the judge decides in your landlord's favor, he will enter a judgment against you. This judgment states that you must vacate your rental property and specifies how much you owe the landlord. For example, the judge may decide that you owe the landlord for any unpaid rent leading up to the court date. In some states, you may also have to pay the landlord's attorney fees or court costs.

Payment Options

The judge may give you options for paying the unpaid rent to your landlord, especially if your financial situation prevents you from paying the full amount due up front. In many cases, you can set up a payment plan with your landlord's attorney. If you create a payment plan, that plan will become a matter of the courts. The judge will open a court order for the amount you owe the landlord. Failure to pay on time could result in legal trouble.

Tips

Some states allow you to appeal the judge's decision. During the appeal process, you can have your case heard by another judge or a jury, which may overturn the original ruling. You will have to act quickly, as some states limit the amount of time you have to file an appeal. For example, the Southern Illinois University School of Law reports that you have 30 days to file an appeal after losing an eviction case.

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