How Many Months Behind in Rent Before Eviction?

With this economic crisis, you might have found yourself out of a job and unable to pay rent. If you are wondering how many days or months you can be behind in rent before finding yourself evicted from your house, we have got you covered. 


You don’t need to be months behind in rent to get evicted—it is possible to get an eviction notice as early as two days from your first overdue rent payment. However, you can stay in the apartment during the actual eviction process, which can take from a few weeks up to two months. 


This article will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the eviction process and some measures that you can take in order to avoid getting evicted. 

Can My Landlord Push Back My Eviction Notice?

The answer to this question is – it depends. If you have a good rapport with your landlord and they understand your financial problems, they will be willing to hold back on serving an eviction notice, which kickstarts the entire process to eviction. 


However, if there is no personal connection between you and your landlord, they will want their ‘money’s due’ like most individuals. Even being a few days behind in rent can cause your landlord to serve you an eviction notice. If they are busier, it might take them a few weeks to get around to it, but they will eventually. 


Instead of going through all of the stress and hassle of getting served an eviction notice, if it is possible, try to inculcate good saving habits so that you can pay your rent with no problems.

Eviction can cause a high spread of the infectious and deadly disease known as COVID-19. As a result, as of September 4th, 2020, an order issued by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) has gone into effect, stating that there would be a temporary halt in residential evictions until December 31st, 2020. This is to slow down the transmission of this virus. 


This order protects tenants who:


  • Have tried their best to obtain government assistance for rent and housing
  • Attempt to pay partial payments even if they cannot procure the complete amount
  • Will be homeless if they are evicted
  • Have had a substantial loss of income
  • Cannot cover rent because they need to pay a large number of medical expenses


In addition to all of those requirements, you need to meet one of the three requisites below:


  • You expect to earn no more than $99,000 annually in 2020
  • You have received an Economic Impact Payment under Section 2201 of the CARES Act
  • You did not need to report any income in 2019 to the IRS


If you pass all of the requirements, you need to fill in a declaration form stating that all of the things that you have said are true and display it to your landlord. If your landlord violates this order and chooses to kick you out anyway, they can face jail time. If you are currently in a spot of trouble, you will have at least approximately two months before being evicted, provided that this policy applies to you. 


If you are not eligible for this moratorium, you should also check if your state has any other moratoriums or additional eviction policies that could benefit you. This legal encyclopedia talks about all the related policies. Some states even have moratoriums on utility shut-offs, so even if you cannot pay your utility bill, you will still receive electricity and running water. 

How Long Does It Take to Get Evicted?

Getting an eviction notice is surprisingly quick, but the actual eviction process can take much longer. Before legally going to court to appeal for an eviction, the landlord needs to give you a notice. These notices can be served anywhere from two days of overdue rent to within a week. They give you a specific window of time in which you are supposed to pay rent. These can range from 48 hours to three days. 


There are two types of eviction notices that you can receive:


  • Pay rent or quit – If you are behind in paying rent for the first time, a landlord will give you a notice asking you to pay your rent within a specified time frame or move out. 
  • Unconditional quit – When you are constantly paying rent late, a landlord can just give you a notice telling you to move out because they do not want you as a tenant anymore. 


Once the notice period has expired, the landlord will apply for a legal lawsuit. The court trial can take place in a matter of mere weeks. If the tenant does not appear for the trial, it is automatically judged a de facto guilty case. However, if the tenant shows up and has some evidence with which they can defend themselves, the processing of this evidence and coming to judgment will take some time. 


Once the tenant is ruled guilty, they need to move out. In some states, the judge can order for the tenant to move out at once. In other states, more time is given – from a week to a month.


If the tenant still chooses to stay and willfully ignore the judge’s order, the landlord can hire a sheriff to aid in forcibly evicting the tenant and throwing their stuff out onto the sidewalk. This can take a few weeks more. 


As a result, the answer is it really depends. The amount of time taken for eviction can range anywhere from five weeks to up to 3 months. 


One last factor to remember is that until you’re evicted, you need to keep paying rent. The landlord will also ask you to pay court costs and other costs that you have incurred during this process. Waiting to be kicked out is not a good thing because it just means that you will have to pay more money when you eventually leave. 

Why Is Eviction So Terrible?

Beyond the obvious problem of not having a house, eviction is terrible because it puts a permanent black spot on your record. Once you’re judged to be guilty according to a court ruling and evicted, the eviction will affect your credit score negatively and will also come up on your tenant screening. 


The landlord doesn’t like having tenants that cannot pay on time, so unless you find a rare exception, it will become much more difficult for you to find another apartment because most landlords will reject you after witnessing your bad record. If you find a landlord who is willing to let you stay in their house, they will ask for an astronomically high-security deposit worth at least several months of rent. 


This eviction will stay on your record for seven years under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. That is a long time for a blemish to stay on your record, so try to avoid it if you can. 


It is very common for poorer Americans who get rejected for loan applications from banks to get money from a loan shark that charges very high-interest rates that they then struggle to pay off. 

To avoid these kinds of scenarios, keep good financial habits, and save up to several months of rent at a time. Not being chronically late to rent payments will also give you a good credit score, which means that you can apply for loans from banks if you are behind in your rent payments.