Do You Still Have to Pay If You Get Evicted?

Counting Money

Getting an eviction notice is a major headache. You’re told you must pack your things and get out of your house, and you need to do it quickly. Sometimes you can stop the eviction process (by paying rent), but in others there’s just nothing you can do. Being evicted will cause a lot of stress, cost you time, and in most cases money as well. Besides needing to find a new place to live, you might still be on the hook for the rent of your old house. Today, I want to answer the following question: do you still have to pay if you get evicted?

With a few exceptions, the answer is yes. While the laws differ in every state, in most cases you will be responsible to pay for the rent until your landlord is able to rent the property to a new tenant.

When it comes to property ownership and rental options, regulations and organizations provide support to both landlords and tenants. In order to fully answer the question above, we must consider the legal implications of the landlord-tenant relationship.

In order for a tenant to issue an eviction notice, a given set of circumstances need to happen. The most common reasons for such orders are non-payment of rent, illegal activity, property damage, or under very strict conditions where the landlord wishes to move into the property him or herself. Below, we’ll take a deeper look into them.

Non-Payment Of Rent

In almost all states, non-payment of rent over a prolonged period of time is certainly cause for an eviction. Tenants are then usually given up to seven days to vacate the premises and are liable for payment of rent up to (and including) the day the property is repossessed by the landlord.

In other states, you may need to pay for the days it takes the landlord to find another tenant. It all depends on the lease contract, which is why it is especially important to thoroughly read and understand it. If you are able to pay for part of the rent after the eviction notice and the regulating body (courts) are advised of this part payment agreement, all further eviction proceedings will be stopped from following through. Be informed and speak to the representative body in your area, as claiming naivety doesn’t work well.

Breach or Violation Of Lease

The second most common condition under which landlords request for an eviction notice is violation or breach of the lease. This most often refers to neglect or damage to property or pet ownership. In most cases, lease agreements are negotiable but even then, always ensure you read and understand them. After signing, do not play smart; just follow the rules.

However, we are all humans and we all end up breaking the rules sometimes. In order to prevent an eviction due to this issue, ensure you fix up the cause of the violation. If anything in the house is damaged or neglected by you and it was within the initial agreement as your responsibility, then waste no time and fix it. Pets can often be negotiated into the lease with additional charge or extra cleaning service agreement.

Failing to rectify your violation will mean a violation of your lease agreement, giving the landlord the right to submit an eviction notice. This particular type of eviction notice may be rather costly because tenants will be liable to pay the rent up to their last day in the property. Even worse, they may need to pay court fees and rectification of damages.

Be Informed & Avoid Eviction

Prior to signing any lease agreement, make sure you consult with your representative body for advice. Don’t overreach with your rent and note that it is wise to stay within your affordability. Most often, tenants run into problems when they get into rental arrangements they can barely afford. Not all leases are term leases. Some rental agreements may be what is known as a month-to-month lease. Similarly, even these leases though have their own set of criteria, terms, and conditions. Upon the landlord’s decision to terminate a contract, he is required to provide a time period on the eviction notice.

If by reading the above, you are starting to feel somewhat persecuted as a tenant, fear not, as tenants do have rights which you must be aware of. There are instances where you have a guaranteed right to withhold payment of your rent. See below for some explanations where this applies.

Rent Withholding

It is important to note that not all states support this option. However, where it does apply you must follow certain rules to ensure you are within the scope of the regulation that will allow withholding payment of rent. Some circumstances where this applies is:

  1. No landlord action after an official complaint filed to the landlord or property manager;
  2. Situations where the health and safety of the tenants are viewed as at risk;
  3. Bankruptcy;
  4. Consumer Law;

No Action After Complaint

What does all the above truly mean and what are your rights? Whenever something in the apartment is reported and it goes for prolonged periods of time without the landlord taking any action, some states give tenants the right to withhold an amount of rent equal to the costs of rectifying the problem. Suppose your A/C stops working, you submit a complaint to the landlord but he or she fails to fix it. You can hire someone to fix it, keep the receipts, and withhold an amount from rent up to the cost of fixing the A/C. Please note that proper evidence of the complaint and receipts for the work must be presented.

Health at Risk

By law in the United States, every dwelling must provide heating/cooling, waste collection, running water, clean and maintained common areas and housing must uphold the minimum housing regulations. Should you find that your premises don’t hold up to these minimum guidelines, you have the right to withhold rent payable until these issues are rectified. I’ve written another post which covers the state regulations on who’s responsible for plumbing issues. For full instructions on this process, please consult with your local regulatory body and advising center.


If a tenant files for bankruptcy, he may NOT pay rent until the bankruptcy case is heard and finalized. Upon closing of the bankruptcy case (this varies from state to state), the landlord can then request an eviction application.

Consumer Protection Law

Landlords in most states are governed by the Consumer protection-law and are not allowed to retain a cleaning deduction from security deposits. The Consumer-protection regulates that every tenant, upon lease termination (and provided the property is in good condition) should get the full security deposit back. If the landlord requires additional cleaning, this needs to be presented as an additional charge, along with an invoice with the final rent payment.


Legally, when it comes to evictions, there are regulations that protect you as a tenant. However, if you fail to comply with the lease agreement, you must pay rent even after you’re evicted. If you have any further questions, let us know in the comment section below and we’ll try to answer them!

Gui Hadlich

Hi there! I'm Gui. I've had to move 12 times in the last 6 years, and I've learned a thing or two about moving, decorating, and buying and selling furniture. I've started Budget Friendly Furnishing with the intent of helping people furnish their homes in style without having to break the bank!

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