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Legal Help FAQs on Eviction and Landlord-Tenant Problems

Find your local legal rules and groups who can help you. Also find what emergency protections renters have during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This site is a non-profit effort led by a team at Stanford Legal Design Lab and supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

This site provides legal information, but does not provide legal advice. Please check with your local court and legal aid groups for up-to-date, authoritative information. Please review this site’s Terms of Use carefully before using the Legal Help FAQs platform.

What You Can Do as a Tenant
  • Understand Your Local Protections. You may have protections from the US federal government, your state government, and your county or city government. Search here to find if you have protections from being evicted, or a different timeline for paying rent or utilities you owe.

  • Fill out the CDC Eviction Moratorium DeclarationThis declaration form may be able to stop an eviction against you.Fill in the two-page form, sign it, and give it to your landlord. You can also use this tool to write a letter.

  • Check if you can get Rental Assistance. Go to your local state’s Find Financial Assistance page and find what state, city, or county rental assistance is there for you. There are limited rental funds available for people affected by COVID-19. Apply as soon as you can.

  • Write to your landlord about problems, and keep copies. If you can’t pay your rent in full, have problems with housing conditions, or have other issues — put this down in a written letter (or an email). Send this written description of your problems to your landlord, and keep a copy for your records.This tool can help you write an official letter to your landlord.

  • Keep records of any COVID-19 problems you have. You should keep any communication about health, work, and financial problems you are having because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These can be letters from your employer about termination, cut in pay, or reduction of hours; paychecks and bank statements; bills for health expenses; or letters from a school or child care about closures. These can all be used as evidence to support you down the road.

  • Be prepared to pay housing costs eventually, or find financial support to help. Even if you may have protections to not pay rent or utilities during the emergency, you may have to pay it all afterwards.You can reach out for financial assistance for housing costs.You can also work with your landlord to arrange a reasonable payment plan.

  • If you get a notice or a court document about an eviction, reach out to legal help. A legal aid group or others can help you know your rights, form a strategy, and avoid negative consequences of a possible eviction. Find legal help here.