As a tenant, you have certain rights. You have the right to be safe. You have a right to running water and a toilet that flushes. You have the right to hot and cold water. You have the right to live without interference from other parties or loud noises or odors. You have the right to certain disclosures and notices. These rights exist even if you are in default on your lease. If a landlord wants to remove you from a property they must follow certain legal procedures which involve serving you with paperwork and giving you an opportunity to appear in court in front of a judge to answer the landlords complaint. If the landlord sues you it may be possible for you to counterclaim on the basis that the landlord has violated your rights as a tenant under your lease. It may also be possible to argue that the lease is invalid, or that proper procedures under the law were not followed.
Judges are very sympathetic to tenants. If the landlord takes an order for possession against you the landlord must file an execution form with the sheriff and request that the sheriff physically remove you. It is the landlords responsibility in that instance to move your property to the curb, but he or she must take proper precautions not to damage your property in the process. If the landlord takes a money judgement against you they can garnish your wages, or levy your bank account. In no other area of law is it more important to have a lawyer.
Very often tenants do not appear in Court and do not hire a lawyer to represent them. In these cases the landlord gets an order for possession and money damages by default in an amount that can be unfair and inaccurate.
My experience is that by the time these matters get to court all of the parties have stopped speaking to one another. A lawyer can very often negotiate more time for the tenant, or possibly avoid a money judgement and order for possession altogether.
If you find yourself in a lawsuit with a landlord, or have a dispute with a landlord that you are unable to resolve on your own contact me. Be careful, your landlord has a lawyer that represents there interests, not yours.
Do not take there word for granted that they are going to do this, or that, because they may be saying these things while at the same time taking advantage of your ignorance of the legal system and be actively taking a money judgement against you.
My experience is that a phone call or a letter is often all it takes to get these matters resolved. If you have been sued, you only have a certain amount of time to answer the lawsuit to protect your interests. Be proactive and contact me to determine how I may be able to best help you.