Did My Landlord Have the Right to Serve an Eviction Notice?

Did you experience a shock when you found an eviction notice on the door of your house or apartment? Are you left wondering: “did my landlord have the right to serve an eviction notice?”

There are times when you expect an event like this to happen. Regardless, that does not always mean the law is on your landlord’s side. There could be notable process errors or violations of your rights that can justify a lawsuit.

Our guide will give you an opportunity to know what is and is not a justifiable eviction. However, these are general expectations, and more specific regulations could be at play. Once you finish this overview, you can contact an eviction attorney from our network for a free consultation.

Failure to Pay Rent

Anyone who has experienced trouble paying for their housing knows this situation can be painful. Despite your best efforts, sometimes your financial circumstances go beyond your control. But the fact remains that falling behind on your lease will put you in jeopardy of eviction.

Regardless, there are situations where you have time to catch up to this obligation. For instance, even the CDC issued a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic in high transmission areas. This unusual action gave millions of tenants more time than they would have had otherwise. Accordingly, many states or municipalities issued orders against removing renters from their units.

Since the time for these orders has passed, your best hope is a generous grace period. An eviction notice is often a warning and not an inevitability. But did my landlord have the right to serve an eviction notice? The New York State Unified Court System states you have 14 days to pay your arrears. So they can’t kick you out on site. Other states or metropolitan areas have similar policies. But some research or consulting an attorney is necessary to be sure.

Illegal Activity

Rental agreements and leases typically contain clauses that prohibit illegal activities. A tenant who does not honor those terms gives the landlord grounds for eviction. Moreover, there can be legal consequences. Fines, penalties, and criminal charges are not unusual.

There is no room for a building owner to tolerate this behavior. They have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and lawful environment. A landlord who knows about illicit activity and allows it can face civil and criminal liabilities.

Furthermore, there are legitimate safety concerns. Illegal activities can risk the well-being of other tenants and neighbors. Evicting a tenant engaged in unlawful behavior can protect everyone and maintain a secure environment.

Finally, there are reputation concerns for landlords. They do not want to give their property a terrible image. Once word gets around, they can have trouble finding new renters or potential buyers for their rental units.

Lease Violations

A lease is a legally binding agreement. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties. By violating those terms, a tenant is in breach of contract. This situation gives the landlord a legal footing for eviction.

Violating lease terms can also negatively affect other tenants in the building or complex. Frequent disturbances or unsafe environments are not something an owner can tolerate. In the most clear-cut situations, the landlord must act to protect the well-being of the residents.

Lease violations often result in damage to the property or neglect of maintenance. These circumstances lead to financial losses for the landlord, which gives them a direct reason to evict. They have a monetary interest in mitigating losses and maintaining the property’s value.

Illegal Reasons to Serve an Eviction Notice

You may feel like your landlord always has the upper hand. Nonetheless, they do not get to hand out eviction notices with impunity. You may have become a victim of one of the following illegal activities.


There are many safeguards from unjust treatment based on protected attributes. Accordingly, evicting a tenant due to discrimination violates federal, state, and local laws.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal rule that outlaws housing discrimination based on the following:

  • Sex
  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • National origin
  • Familial status

An eviction based on prejudicial decisions has repercussions for the landlord. The civil liabilities are more apparent, but a criminal case is not unusual either.

In addition, states and local jurisdictions have fair housing laws that may offer more safeguards. These laws may cover more categories like the following:


Retaliation is when someone gets revenge for standing up for their rights or opposing illegal activity. In rental properties, this can mean a landlord may try to evict because the tenant reported a violation. Federal, state, and sometimes municipal laws have regulations against this behavior.

Tenants should feel free to report violations of housing codes, file complaints, or exercise their rights. If a landlord decides to evict a tenant in response, they can invite considerable penalties on themselves.

If a tenant is a victim of retaliation, they may contact a government agency or start a civil action. In many cases, tenants may have an entitlement to damages or other types of compensation as a form of relief.

Hire an Eviction Attorney Today

If you recognize an unjust action by your landlord, you may have a substantial case to take to court. Consulting with an eviction attorney could keep you in your home and win damages. Moreover, you can protect your reputation and credit history.

You don’t have to accept losing your rental unit unfairly or without a fight. Request legal help from our network today by submitting a form or calling (866) 345-6784.

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