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Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
Fax: (603) 297-2866

Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

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The Legal Corner: Avoid Eviction by Communicating With Your Landlord

January 28, 2009

In these difficult economic times, many people are having problems making ends meet, including paying monthly rent. Eviction can be avoided. The most important thing to realize is that you cannot simply stop paying rent and hope that the problem will go away. A landlord will not take kindly to this.

However, there are ways to avoid eviction by positive and early communication with your landlord. Landlords do not want to file for eviction in court because it is a hassle and costly. In addition, if you have been a good tenant, a landlord will not want to evict you unless he or she has to. Below I will list some options for resolving landlord –tenant issues before they go to Court. Of course, if the below options fail, the landlord will have no choice but to seek to evict you. I have represented many landlords who would have been willing to work with tenants had the tenants simply approached them with some of the suggestions listed below.

Communicate. You should speak to your landlord right away when you might have an issue paying rent. Preferably you should meet with your landlord in person and explain what difficulties you are having and how you are trying to resolve them. Then, follow up with phone calls or emails to update the landlord on your status, and how you are seeking to recover from your job loss or other difficulty. If you have been a good tenant and communicate immediately and often, a landlord will be much more willing to work with you.

Negotiate. Most landlords are understanding people, especially during difficult times. If you cannot pay full rent, contact the landlord and try to work out a payment plan. A landlord will look much more favorably on a tenant who is proactively trying to make a difficult situation better. Again, above all, do not simply stop paying rent and ignore the issue. A landlord may agree to temporarily accept partial payments for a period of time.

Offer to work for rent or at least partial rent. Apartments are always in need of repair. If you are skilled in plumbing, carpentry or other such areas, you may be able to work to pay a portion of your rent. Even if you have few such skills, offering to paint, shovel snow, or maintain the premises may be an option. Again if you approach the landlord with these options before you are behind on rent, the landlord will view your request much more favorably than if you stop paying rent and only make these suggestions after you have been confronted by the landlord.

Seek whatever financial assistance that you may be eligible for. Whether you have been laid off from a job, or are unable to work because of an injury, pursue all available options. File for unemployment insurance. File for disability or other compensation if you are eligible. Consider whatever you may be eligible for and inform the landlord that you have applied.

Get a job. Even if you have to take a job in a field that you do not like or a temporary job, that job may get you through the difficult times while you are seeking employment elsewhere.

In conclusion, if you are in a difficult economic situation, communication with your landlord early and often is critical. Do not simply stop paying your rent or your landlord will have no choice but to pursue eviction.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

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By: Edward D. Alkalay