Legal FAQs for Renters in
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Do I have housing protections because of COVID-19?
My landlord gave me an eviction notice
What can I do?
I've been sued in court for eviction
What can I do?
Do I have housing protections because of COVID-19?
- Are there any special protections for Wyoming renters during the emergency? How long do they last?
Wyoming's does not have statewide bans on eviction, though some renters may be protected through the national CDC moratorium.
Governor Mark Gordon has authorized a new Wyoming eviction and housing assistance program that will begin June 1, 2020. Landlords and renters must apply for it, and the program may can help cover rent and stop an eviction. Check with the Wyoming Community Development Authority for updates and the application.
The Wyoming Supreme Court has ordered courts to postpone court proceedings (including for evictions) if someone is sick or caring for someone is sick.
You may be covered by national protections, or by your local county and city. Read below to see if you are eligible for U.S. national protections, which may protect you through January 31, 2021.
- What do the protections mean for Wyoming renters?
Since there are no special protections in Wyoming, unless you are eligible for national protections:
- Your landlord can still give you a notice to quit.
- Your landlord can still file an eviction claim in court against you.
- Hearings on eviction are still happening, and the court may still hear an eviction case against you. If you are sick or caring for someone who is sick, the court may postpone an eviction hearing against you.
- The court may issue a new order, judgment, or writ of eviction against you.
- An existing eviction order may be enforced against you.
- Do I still have to pay rent during the emergency in Wyoming?
Yes, Wyoming renters still need to pay rent during the emergency.
There is a new Wyoming eviction and housing assistance program that began on June 1, 2020. Landlords and renters must apply for it, and the program may can help cover rent and stop an eviction. Check with the Wyoming Community Development Authority for updates and the application.
Also check with your local city or county government to see if they give renters any additional protections if they are struggling to pay rent during the emergency.
If you cannot pay rent, take steps to protect yourself:
- See if you qualify for the national CDC Eviction Moratorium. If you do qualify, fill in the Declaration form and give it to your landlord. This can help stop the eviction, or give you a defense against it.
- Communicate with your landlord: Send a written letter or email to your landlord as soon as possible. Explain why you cannot pay the rent because of COVID-19 impact. You can also try to negotiate with your landlord to make a payment plan or get a temporary rent reduction. Get help here for drafting and mailing a letter to your landlord. You can also use this letter-writing tool here.
- Get written records of all communication: Keep copies of any letter or email you send, and any responses from the landlord. Keep receipts for any payments you make. If you make a payment plan or rent agreement, make sure to get it in writing.
- Keep proof of COVID-19's impact on you: Collect documents about your COVID-19-related employment problems, health care issues, or other issues that affect your ability to pay rent. This includes letters from your employer, doctor, insurance provider, child care provider, schools, etc.
- Check for help: If you need financial assistance for housing costs, you may be able to get help.
- Can my landlord evict me during the emergency?
Wyoming renters may be evicted during the emergency.
If you are sick or caring for someone who is sick, you may be able to get a postponement of any eviction court case against you. If you are in this situation, be in touch with your local courts to request a postponement.
You may be covered by national protections, or by your local county and city. Read below to see if you are eligible for U.S. national protections that can protect you from eviction through January 31, 2021.
If you receive a notice to quit from your landlord, or an eviction lawsuit, reach out for legal help.
- Can my utilities be shut off during the emergency?
Wyoming renters' utilities may be shut off during the emergency period. Check with your utility providers and local governments, to see if they offer any protections to renters.
Renters must still pay their utility bills. If you need financial assistance for utility costs, you may be able to get help. You can also contact the Wyoming Low Income Energy Assistance Program to help pay for heating costs.
Landlords are never allowed to shut off a renter's utilities in an attempt to force the renter out. This is illegal. Reach out to a lawyer for help if this happens to you.
- Are you eligible for eviction protections under the CDC Eviction Moratorium?
What is the CDC Eviction Moratorium?
The CDC Eviction Moratorium orders that renters should be protected from eviction if they are unable to pay their rent due to hardships like job loss, income loss, or medical expenses. This protection lasts from September 4, 2020 through January 31, 2021.
The CDC Eviction Moratorium is not automatic protection against eviction. Renters need to fill in a Declaration document and give it to their landlord to get the protection.
Landlords may still try to file an eviction lawsuit against renters, but renters can use the moratorium to defend themselves in court.
Do you qualify for protection under the CDC Eviction Moratorium?
The CDC Eviction Moratorium applies to people who:
- Rent a home in the United States; AND
- Make less than $99,000 (or $198,000 if you file a joint tax return); AND
- Are facing eviction based on nonpayment of rent (not for other problems, like lease violations or criminal activity); AND
- Can show they’re unable to pay rent because they’ve had a financial hardship, like losing a job, decrease in income, or medical bills; AND
- Can show that they’ve been trying their hardest to pay their rent and find any rental assistance; AND
- Can show that they’re at risk of homelessness if they were to be evicted.
If you live in a state, county, or city that has an eviction moratorium, the CDC Eviction Moratorium doesn’t replace this local one. It adds on top of your local protections.
What does the CDC Eviction Moratorium get you?
The CDC Eviction moratorium can stop an eviction proceeding against you. It could stop your landlord from removing you from your home, or from a court giving your landlord an eviction order through Jan. 31, 2021.
- If your landlord has already started an eviction lawsuit against you, you can use the CDC Eviction Moratorium as a defense in court.
- You can use the Declaration form to tell your landlord that you are protected from eviction, and to ask the court to stop the eviction.
- You must follow the process below to be protected by the CDC Eviction Moratorium.
The CDC Eviction Moratorium does NOT get you rent relief:
- Even if you fill in the Declaration, this does not cancel rent that you owe, or stop rent or late fees from building up.
- After the CDC Moratorium expires on Jan. 31, 2021, you may be evicted for the rent that you owe.
The CDC Eviction Moratorium may NOT stop a landlord from suing you:
- Even after you fill in the Declaration and send it to your landlord, they might still file an eviction lawsuit against you.
- You can bring the Declaration to the court eviction hearing, to ask the court to stop the eviction.
- Call a local lawyer for help if your landlord sues you for eviction.
How do you use the CDC Eviction Moratorium to protect yourself?
To secure CDC Eviction Moratorium protection, follow these steps:
- Apply for rental assistance. Look for any rental and utility assistance in your area, and submit applications to these programs. Find local assistance programs here.
- Fill out Declarations. You and every adult in the household need to fill out a Declaration about your financial hardships and your attempts to get assistance. In the Declaration, you must say that you are telling the truth and that you may face legal consequences if you are lying. You can use this guide for help with the Declaration.
- Send the Declarations to your landlord, and also tell the landlord that you will do your best to pay when you can. Keep a copy of the Declarations, as well as any receipt or documentation that you have sent it to your landlord (like email receipt or screenshots of the message). These can be useful evidence that you followed the process correctly.
- Protections through Jan. 31st. After you send this, your landlord cannot remove you from your home for nonpayment of rent through January 31, 2021. They are also never allowed to harass or intimidate you, or force you to leave the home without a court order.
- If your landlord has filed an eviction lawsuit against you, you can bring your Declarations to the court to ask them to stop the lawsuit. Contact a legal aid lawyer to help you with the lawsuit. Please note: Your landlord can still evict you for reasons other than nonpayment of rent, like for engaging in criminal activity in the home, violating building codes or health ordinances, or threatening the health and safety of other residents.
- You will continue to owe your rent. Try to make a plan about how you will take care of all the rent you owe. At the end of the Eviction Moratorium protections on Jan. 31, 2021, you will no longer be protected from being evicted.
- Make sure you know your lease and its terms. Some landlords may try to evict you based on violations of the terms in your lease. If you know your lease, you can protect yourself by making sure you do not break any of its terms.
If your landlord is trying to evict you, you should contact a legal aid attorney who helps with evictions. The CDC Eviction Moratorium might give you protections that lawyers can help you with.
What if I need repairs?
Can I break my lease?
What do I do if my landlord tries to evict me?
Are eviction cases still proceeding through court in Wyoming?
My landlord gave me an eviction notice
- My landlord gave me a notice to "pay or quit" my rental home in Wyoming. What should I do?
You do not have to leave your home yet.
In Wyoming, your landlord must give you a 3-day written notice to quit before they can evict you. The notice to quit may be for:
- Non-payment of rent or partial payment of rent;
- Lease violation(s);
- Ending lease term or tenancy; or
- Other reasons (sometimes the landlord does not list a reason).
The notice to quit does not have to be anything official. It does not need to be notarized. It does not need to be served by a Sheriff or process server. Typically, the landlord will post the 3-day notice to quit on your door or someplace where you will see it.
The notice may give you the opportunity to either pay your rent or move out. Once you get a 3-day notice to quit, the landlord is not required to accept rent if you are behind on rent. If you do not receive a 3-day notice, this is a potential defense against the eviction.
In Wyoming, the landlord cannot change the locks or remove your property from the home. Some bad landlords have been known to do this, so you may want to be careful and always have at least one person in the home after the notice to quit expires.
The landlord cannot shut off power, water, or other essentials. This is an illegal eviction and you may have a legal remedy.
Reach out for legal help if you think the notice isn't correct, or if you need assistance in defending yourself against the eviction.
- What if the landlord has just told me, face-to-face or over the phone, that I need to leave my home in Wyoming?
A verbal conversation doesn't count as an "eviction notice". To be legal, the notice must be written down and given to you in the correct way.
Reach out for legal help if your landlord is trying to make you leave without going through the court process. This is illegal and a lawyer may be able to help you protect yourself.
- Do I have to leave my home by the time of the eviction notice's expiration date in Wyoming?
No, you do not have to leave (or 'quit') your home by the date listed on the 3-day notice to quit.
You do not have to leave your home until you have been brought to court, and a judge has ordered that your landlord can make you leave.
After the date on the 3-day notice to quit passes, then your landlord may file an eviction lawsuit in court against you. The lawsuit is called a Forcible Entry and Detainer or “FED”. You will be able to go to court and present defenses to protect yourself.
My eviction notice says that I will be evicted unless I pay back-rent I owe in Wyoming. What if I can't afford to pay it?
How long do I have after I receive an eviction notice to pay back the rent to stop the eviction in Wyoming?
I've been sued in court for eviction
- My landlord has filed an eviction lawsuit against me in court in Wyoming. What should I do?
You should make sure that the landlord properly 'served' you with the lawsuit. If they didn't give it to you in the correct way, you can challenge the eviction lawsuit. In Wyoming, a landlord must follow certain rules to let you know about the lawsuit:
- Wyoming landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate circuit court.
- Only certain people can give you the lawsuit's Summons and Complaint including the sheriff or any third-party over the age of 18.
- The documents may be given to you in person, left with someone over the age of 14 who lives at the rental property, or left at your workplace.
- The summons and complaint must be served at least 3 days, but no more than 12 days, prior to the eviction hearing.
You should also reach out to local lawyers who can help you prepare for your court hearing so you can protect yourself against the eviction.
- Do I have to do anything after I get an eviction Summons and Complaint in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, you are not required to respond to the eviction lawsuit. Still, it is recommended to file a written response, especially if you have defenses.
You will have an eviction hearing automatically scheduled at court. You must appear there if you want to defend yourself against the eviction. You are not required to submit anything but if you do have proof or evidence, it is recommended to submit it 5 days prior to the hearing. If the tenant does not appear for the hearing, the trial will continue as scheduled and the judge will likely rule in favor of the landlord. If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, you will have to move out.
Reach out to legal help to learn what your rights and defenses are in your eviction case. These organizations can help you deal with this lawsuit.
- Can I settle my eviction case without going to court in Wyoming?
You can come to an agreement, but you should still go to court to make sure your case is closed.
You can work with your landlord to work out an agreement before the date of the court hearing. This might be a payment plan or other agreement on what needs to happen for you to stay in your home.
Be sure to get this agreement in writing, so that you can prove it exists and that your landlord follows through on it.
Also, you should still go to court for your hearing date, to make sure the court knows about the agreement and closes the lawsuit. If you do not go to court, the lawsuit might still continue and the judge might rule that the landlord can remove you. Go to court yourself to make sure this doesn't happen.
You can reach out for legal help to get assistance in negotiating an agreement with your landlord, and making sure this agreement is being followed.
Its information is taken from these sources:Princeton Eviction Lab's COVID Policy ScorecardsColumbia Law School COVID-19 Eviction Moratoria analysisEnergy and Policy Institute Utility Disconnect TrackerWyoming Court COVID-19 updatesLegal Aid of WyomingWyom. Governor's websiteWyoming Supreme Court order