If you’ve fallen behind on your rent, your biggest fear can be summed up in one word: eviction.
Many people feel helpless when they learn their landlord is trying to evict them. After all, they haven’t been able to make their payments, so what other choice do they have than to accept the eviction?
Get Help Immediately
Once you’ve gotten an eviction notice, your first move should be to get legal aid as soon as possible. If you can’t afford legal aid on your own, reach out to Legal Assistance of Olmsted County. It’s a non-profit organization that offers free civil legal aid to people with little to no income.
Having an attorney on your side can help you out immensely. At the very least, they will make sure the eviction process is fair and legal. At best, they can suggest some effective strategies or creative solutions to help delay the eviction or even stop it entirely.
Know Your Rights Under the Law
While you’re talking with a lawyer, you’ll want to take the opportunity to make sure you’re aware of your rights as a tenant under Minnesota law. This will at least help you understand what your landlord legally has to do in order to evict you. Be prepared to discuss this process with your lawyer, and if you suspect your landlord has broken the law in any way, be sure to bring it up.
Prepare for Court
A lawyer can’t evict you without getting a hearing before a judge. While you may not want to attend this hearing, if you don’t the judge will automatically rule in the landlord’s favor. If you attend, though, you might be able to beat the eviction charge, or at least prevent your landlord from claiming any fines for damage you didn’t cause or rent you’ve already paid.
When preparing for court, make sure you have a record of the rent you have paid, and talk with your lawyer about any defenses you might be able to present. You’ll also want to make sure you show up for court in business clothing and bring any documentation your lawyer tells you to bring.
Seek Financial Assistance
As you’re preparing for court and talking with an attorney, don’t forget that there are several organizations that can help you if you’re having a hard time paying rent.
- Olmsted County has a rental assistance program which may be able to help you. In addition to emergency rent assistance, they also offer housing assistance to veterans, utility allowances and a resource center for tenants and landlords.
- Three Rivers Community Action is a non-profit which runs the Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program.
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which can offer financial aid or loans to struggling families.
You should also know that you may be able to get some financial stability with a personal loan. For instance, you can get a no-hassle loan from First Alliance Credit Union that will give you $1,000 you can use to pay bills or take care of an unexpected expense. You can also apply for a financial relief loan that can supply you with up to $5,000 in funds, has a low interest rate and does not require a payment for 90 days after you get the loan to give you time to get back on your feet.
Get Support During Financial Hardship With First Alliance Credit Union
Getting an eviction notice can be scary. However, if you apply for financial assistance, get legal representation and know your rights, you’ll have a better chance at getting a positive outcome than if you just wait for the eviction date to arrive.
If you’re a member of First Alliance Credit Union, you can also use the services we offer to give you a chance to catch up on unpaid rent. You can use the Anytime Skip a Pay form to give you some temporary relief on any auto loan or personal loan, which will let you put that money toward paying your back rent. You can also check out the financial guide at First Alliance’s resource center, such as our beginner’s guide to budgeting and our beginner’s guide to saving that will help you manage your money effectively.
Want more information about how to manage money during uncertain times? Listen to episode 38 of our Good Money Moves podcast, which covers managing money in times of uncertainty.