Top Questions - and Answers - for Tenants Who Can’t Pay Rent During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Top Questions - and Answers - for Tenants Who Can’t Pay Rent During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Cassidy Chansirik
 | 

Many of our LawChamps users have called us asking questions about rent relief resources and what to do if you can’t pay your rent because of the pandemic. 

 

That is why on Friday, June 26 at 1:00 PM, LawChamps is hosting a free virtual Legal Meet-Up, where a panelist of eight LawChamps attorneys will answer all rent and eviction-related questions.

 

You can sign up online here or call us at (866) 999-9297. 

 

One of our panelists during this Meet-Up is Jennifer Bock.  


Bock is the sole practitioner at Bock Legal Services based in Ohio. She handles every case by herself and has a quick turnaround. 

 

“If you call me, you get me. Not a paralegal or a secretary. If you gave me something today at 4:00 PM,” Bock says. “I will have the paperwork ready to go out tomorrow.” 

 

During the pandemic, Bock realizes how important it is to maintain the health and safety of her clients, while also ensuring that they receive the service they need. She has set up a system that allows her to process applications, documentation, and payments online so that physical contact is minimized. 

 

Furthermore, she provides free consultations to tenants to explain the eviction process.

 

In advance of the Meet-Up, we wanted to share Bock’s top questions and answers for tenants about their legal rights and obligations. 

 

If my landlord is not making any repairs, what can I do? Can I get out of my lease early? 

 

Every state will have different avenues you can pursue to address this issue. One option is to provide a 30-day written notice to your landlord about any repairs that need to be made. If repairs are not made after you have provided a 30-day written notice, you can put your rent into escrow. 

 

Putting your rent into escrow means that you pay your rent to a court clerk or to a government agency. When you do this, the court clerk will release the rent money to your landlord once the needed repairs have been made. It’s important to note that there are variations of this across each state. 

 

Once you have put your rent into escrow, a judge can then order your landlord to do one of the following: 

  • Make needed repairs 
  • Allow the rental lease to be terminated
  • Allow the tenant to receive rent back  

Is my landlord legally allowed to raise my rent at any time? 

 

If your lease is set for a specific term, for example 12 months, then your landlord is not legally allowed to raise your rent at any time. 

 

However, if the lease is a month-to-month lease, your landlord can raise your rent after providing 30-days’ notice. This notice generally has to be written and dated. In some cases, the notice will have to be delivered personally or sent by registered mail. 

 

If you live in an area that has rent control, there are restrictions that limit how much your landlord can increase your rent by. 

 

I just received a 3-day notice to leave. I thought that I had to receive more than 3 days of notice. Is another type of notice required? 

 

A 3-day notice to leave is only required if there is nonpayment of rent, illegal activity, or a serious lease violation. In some states, this 3-day notice is counted based on calendar days. In other states, this 3-day notice is counted based on court days. 

 

If there is no reason as to why your landlord is terminating your lease, a 30-day notice is required. If you live in Section 8 housing, the window for notice requirements is different. More information about Section 8 housing notice requirements can be found here

 

If an eviction complaint has been filed against me, what can I do? How much time do I have?

 

In some states like California and Florida, you have the right to respond to the eviction complaint. This is generally referred to as filing an Answer

 

Depending on the state you live in, there will be a limited number of days with which you can respond. Be sure to check what your state’s guidelines are on filing an Answer

 

If you are in a state that does not provide you with the option to file an Answer, be sure to attend the hearing. The hearing location, date, and time can be found on the eviction complaint that has been filed against you. 

 

At the hearing, state any valid defenses you have and bring any documentation to support your case.  

 

If you are ruled against during the hearing, a lock out can occur anywhere from 3-10 days after the hearing. In a lock-out, a sheriff can remove you from the property. Any belongings left inside the property will be left under the landlord’s possession and can be disposed of. 

 

If I didn’t receive my security deposit back, can I sue my landlord?

 

Yes, you can sue your landlord for your security deposit. Generally, you will file a small claims suit with your local court. 

 

What if I received my security deposit, but I don’t agree with the deductions that were made? What can I do? 

 

First, you can dispute the charges in writing and negotiate a settlement with your landlord. Be sure to provide proof to your landlord as to why you don’t agree with the deductions that were made. 

 

If no progress is made, you can choose to sue your landlord in small claims court. 

 

What are some things I can do to protect myself as a tenant during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

 
  • Read your lease. Not reading your lease can lead to miscommunication between you and your landlord in the future. 
  • Ask your landlord how many tenants previously lived in the unit. This is important to know so that you can prevent the transfer of COVID-19. 
  • If you are immunocompromised, a multi-unit apartment may not be the best option for your health. You can look into renting a duplex or condominium, where the transmission for COVID-19 is minimized and social distancing is easier. 
  • If you are moving into a new apartment, ask your landlord when your unit was last cleaned and sanitized professionally. This is generally a disinfectant spray and is not just soap and water.
 

Please sign up for our free Legal Meet-Up on Friday, June 26 at 1:00 PM to hear more from Jennifer Bock.

 

This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

 


 
Cassidy Chansirik

Find My Lawyer

Start by selecting your legal need:
Business / Employment

Business / Employment

Family / Personal / Injury / Immigration

Family / Personal / Injury / Immigration

Criminal Defense / Civil Rights

Criminal Defense / Civil Rights

Real Estate / Housing

Real Estate / Housing

Estate Planning / Power of Attorney

Estate Planning / Power of Attorney

Review & Rating Images LawChamps
LawChamps Reviews

"I was able to find just the right lawyer for my case. It was easy to use."

Lucy Coutinho

Client

Review & Rating Images LawChamps
LawChamps Reviews

"Very easy for me to get connected with an experienced attorney."

Robert Knox Jr

Client

Review & Rating Images LawChamps
LawChamps Reviews

"It was super easy. It was super fast and I got connected pretty quickly."

Lenasia Smalls

Client

Client Testimonial - Triso Valls
LawChamps Reviews

"It’s easy to register and match with a lawyer according to your legal [need]."

Triso Valls

Client

Ready To Get Started?

Find Your Lawyer NowLawChamps Arrow Icon

Related Posts

My Employer Is Requiring Me to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine t...

Michelle Patrick | 17 June, 2021

The country has started to re-open. COVID-19 vaccines are available for adults in all age groups and have become relatively easy to get. Employers are starting to require...

Read More Arrow Icon

What Are Your Legal Responsibilities When it Comes to P...

Scott Dylan Westerlund | 14 June, 2021

A whopping 8 out of 10 employees say that the coronavirus pandemic will likely force companies to be more responsible. One reason why is because those companies had to ma...

Read More Arrow Icon

How to Handle Back-to-Work Without Back-to-School

Scott Dylan Westerlund | 08 June, 2021

Before the pandemic hit, only about 17% of Americans were working from home. Once Covid-19 came on the scene, everything changed. That statistic shot up to a whopping 44%...

Read More Arrow Icon

Related Posts

Hire One, Help Another

LawChamps donates a portion of our revenue, investing it back into funding justice reform organizations and subsidizing the legal fees for those who cannot afford them.
Learn More