Don’t Lose Your Home. Fight Eviction With These 4 Strategies

A large yellow envelope with the words eviction notice printed on it.
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A few months before the housing market began to implode, 22-year-old Alisa Daly and her boyfriend — now husband — were expecting their first child.

Working at a small trucking company in Arizona, she was close friends with the office manager, and her mother worked for the same firm. So Daly was shocked when her mom called and told Daly she was about to be laid off. Then, a few months after that, the couple’s car broke down and her boyfriend was fired when he didn’t show up for work.

“It made us feel miserable, overwhelmed, depressed and angry,” Daly says.  “We couldn’t get a job anywhere, doing anything. And no one would hire someone that was pregnant.”

As a renter in 2007, she was able to avoid eviction, unlike the 958,000 tenants who were evicted during the housing crisis. But she was on the precipice of a life-changing, community-altering tragedy, according to recent data compiled by the Eviction Lab, a project spearheaded by Princeton University professor Matthew Desmond with millions of dollars in support from the Gates, JPB and Ford Foundations and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Luckily, Daly, now a homeowner, negotiated a week-to-week payment plan to avoid falling behind in rent — demonstrating what experts say is your best bet if you’re facing eviction. She said dividing the rent into weekly amounts made it easier to budget for.

But when she moved to break her lease after an attempted burglary at her apartment, she also avoided any additional fees by hiring a lawyer and arguing that the landlord had violated the lease by not maintaining the apartment adequately — another option to fight an eviction proceeding.

Even as foreclosures have fallen 67% since the Great Recession, rental evictions declined only 9.6% to 898,479 in 2016, the latest year that statistics are available. And with experts growing concerned about housing affordability, particularly for renters, and wages remaining mostly stagnant, the eviction epidemic is likely to continue.

“If you live in a community that is plagued by eviction, then it is absolutely an epidemic, but it’s an epidemic that’s always been occurring,” said David Dworkin, president and CEO of the National Housing Conference and former housing policy adviser at the U.S. Treasury Department. “And if you don’t live in one of those communities, it’s an epidemic that’s been easy to ignore.”

Here’s Some General Advice on How to Stop an Eviction

A mattress and other belongings are piled hapazardly on a sidelwalk outside the garage door of a house.
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Since the Eviction Lab had difficulty compiling all eviction records from some states, including New York and California, the real numbers of people evicted are likely in the millions each year. It could be your neighbor. A family member. It might even be you.

As Alisa Daly’s story shows, you could end up facing eviction through no fault of your own.

Maricopa County, Arizona, Judge Pro Tem Jeremy Rovinsky can see 100 eviction proceedings during a busy day as he does temporary time behind the bench in civil court.

“It’s very difficult for me to have to look people in the eye, people who are struggling, people who are suffering, and tell them they have to leave their home,” he says. “The worst part of my job is having to look them in the eye and say this is the law.”

So how does an eviction work?

First, it’s illegal for landlords to try to evict you by themselves by changing the locks, turning off utilities or through any other method. They must go through the court system.

In most cases, you’ll be served with a notice to vacate, after which you will go before a judge. Be aware that it’s rare for a tenant to win an eviction case for nonpayment. If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a law enforcement officer will show up and you’ll be forced out of your home.

Although specific eviction laws vary state-by-state, there are some general things you can do if you are facing eviction due to nonpayment of rent. Below, you can see the specific time frames landlords must follow during eviction proceedings, depending on your state.

Negotiate Any Way You Can With Your Landlord or Leasing Company

Usually, it’s in your landlord’s best interest to work out a payment plan so you don’t fall too far behind on rent. For Daly, that meant a week-to-week plan, but it could even be a grace period until you get back on your feet.

But be certain you get whatever agreement you come to in writing.

“[The landlord] neither wants the headache of going to court [n]or that apartment empty,” Rovinsky says.

Documents, Documents, Documents

Depending on your state, or county, there are technicalities that could force your landlord to halt eviction proceedings. These include failure to keep up the property or any sort of retaliation for demanding the landlord follow local tenant laws.

But you’ll need plenty of evidence. Hang on to your lease and read it thoroughly — or if you lost it, pick up a copy from your local Clerk of the Court. Save emails, memos and letters from your landlord and take photos of the property.

“Pictures really are worth 1,000 words in these situations,” said Alan Mills, executive director of the Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago. “Judges have to figure out who’s telling the truth, and the more documentation, the better chance you have.”

Find a Legal-Aid Service or Church Group Near You

With all of the fine print in each state’s landlord-tenant laws, it was difficult enough just researching this article. If you lose a job, and especially if you have a family to look after, it can be head-spinning to figure out your legal options in an eviction process.

For one, know that a landlord can never lock you out or turn off the utilities — so stay calm and figure out your next move with the help of a local legal-aid office. Most are low-cost or free, and because they focus on working with marginalized folks, they’ll likely have an expert on tenants’ rights.

Rovinsky, the Arizona judge, recently had an eviction case in which a church congregation stepped in with $500 so a tenant could afford to avoid eviction for at least that month. Sometimes it can take just a month for you to get back on your feet.

Have a Backup Plan if You Can’t Fight the Eviction

“Make a contingency plan,” Mills says. “The worst thing that can happen to anyone is having the sheriff come put your stuff out on the street.”

That means using what savings you may have to rent a cheap storage unit for a month. And make sure you have a plan to keep your kids and family in place — whether that be with relatives or a homeless shelter.

Your first step should be to call the nationwide resource assistance hotline 211.

Once you are stabilized, know that an eviction will remain on your record. So before you pay for a background check when you are looking for a new apartment or home to rent, be up front with the landlord. You could spend half a month’s rent on background checks alone if you get denied a few times, Mills said.

But don’t lose hope; nonpayment of rent is the least harmful type of eviction to have on your record.

“If landlords only rented to people who have never been evicted, there would be a lot of open property,” Rovinsky said. “It doesn’t mean you’ll never rent again or that your life is over.”

Here Are State-By-State Eviction Guidelines

A couple who look sad hug in a room that is filled with moving boxes.
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These brief guidelines will help you understand the timeline and some rights you have as a tenant if you can’t pay rent on time. There are many legal variations in each jurisdiction and even by housing type — and we are not authorized to give legal advice — so we have provided contact numbers for legal-aid services and tenants’-rights groups.

These organizations should help you understand your rights better and may help fight a potential eviction.

The Penny Hoarder also analyzed eviction rates — the percentage of rental properties where tenants faced an eviction in 2016 — to show the cities with the most evictions. For context, the national eviction rate is around 2.3%.

Alabama Arizona Arkansas California Colorado
Connecticut Delaware Washington DC Florida Georgia
Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri
Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont
Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming


In Alabama, the landlord must give the tenant notice and seven days to vacate unless the rental agreement is met. During that week, the tenant can pay the rent and the landlord is legally not allowed to pursue an eviction.

Legal Services Alabama, Statewide, 866-456-4995

Montgomery — 5.82%

Gadsden — 5.53%

Hueytown — 3.76%

Tillman’s Corner — 3.76%

Mobile — 3.66%


In Arizona, where Rovinsky hears cases, tenants have five days’ notice ahead of being evicted. But there are three ways to fight an eviction in this state: Pay the rent in full within the five days; pay the rent in full and cover any applicable late fees after five days; or, before a final judgment, pay the rent, late fees and any court costs.

Drexel Heights — 6.15%

Tucson — 6.03%

Casas Adobes — 2.91%

Marana — 2.53%

Catalina Foothills — 1.99%


In Arkansas, landlords have two ways to evict you from your rental: a civil lawsuit or a criminal charge. If they pursue the former, they have to give you a three-day written notice that they will be suing you for “unlawful detainer” if you don’t vacate the property. After you receive a court summons, you have five days to object to the eviction.

In the case of a criminal charge, they will give you a 10-day notice of failure to vacate. If you don’t leave in 10 days, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor and could be fined up to $25 for each additional day you stay.

Legal Aid of Arkansas, Jonesboro, 800-967-9224

Center for Arkansas Legal Services, Little Rock, 501-376-3423

Legal Aid of Arkansas, Statewide, 800-952-9243

Jacksonville — 1.99%

Marion — 1.96%

West Memphis — 1.85%

Little Rock — 1.76%

North Little Rock — 1.68%*

*These are eviction filings as opposed to actual evictions.


California law requires landlords to provide a three-day notice to vacate. If a tenant doesn’t pay rent within those three days, the landlord can file an eviction.

Bay Area Legal Aid, Oakland, 510-663-4755

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, 323-801-7991

Hemet — 5.08%

Moreno Valley — 4.81%

Perris — 3.31%

Arden-Arcade — 2.97%

Rancho Cordova — 2.86%


Like California, Colorado also provides a three-day window before landlords can move to evict a tenant. But in this state, if you pay rent within that three-day period, the landlord can’t proceed with the eviction. If the tenants move out within three days, they are still liable for rent, and if the security deposit doesn’t cover the amount owed, the landlord may sue the tenant for the difference.

Colorado Affordable Legal Services, Denver, 303-996-0010

Northglenn — 6.24%

Aurora — 5.52%

Welby — 5.4%

Sherrelwood — 5.16%

Thornton — 4.64%


Connecticut has one of the more lenient nonpayment-of-rent laws, with the tenant given a nine-day period before the landlord can begin pursuing an eviction. But after that time frame, the landlord can give a three-day notification to move out of the rental.

Then, as in other states, a judge will weigh both sides during an eviction hearing if the tenant wants to challenge the eviction.

Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Hartford, 860-247-4400

Connecticut Legal Services, Middletown, 860-344-0447

Waterbury — 6.1%

Hartford — 5.73%

Bridgeport — 5.03%

New Britain — 4.68%

Meriden — 4.45%


Tenants in Delaware have five days after the missed rent period to pay their landlord (once served with a notice to pay). If they don’t pay in that time frame, they will have to either fight the eviction in court or vacate the premises.

Legal Services Corporation of Delaware, Wilmington, 302-734-8820; 302-575-0408

Delaware Legal Help Link, Statewide, 302-478-8850

Wilmington — 7.62%

Glasgow — 7.05%

Dover — 6.94%

Bear — 6.04%

Brookside — 4.29%

Washington DC

In Washington, D.C., a landlord has to provide a 30-day window for the renter to pay rent in full with an official notice. But this is sometimes waived in rental agreements.

If a judge rules in favor of the landlord, the tenant has three days before removal from the property. D.C. is also a “pay-and-stay” jurisdiction, where tenants have until U.S. Marshals remove them from the rental to pay the rent and associated late fees.

D.C. Tenants’ Rights Center, Washington, 202-681-6871

Howard University School of Law Fair Housing Clinic, Washington, 202-806-8082

Districtwide — 2.59%


In the Sunshine State, a landlord must send an official three-day notice for the tenant to pay rent. If the tenant pays within three business days of receiving the notice, the landlord cannot legally proceed with an eviction. But, if you fail to pay rent within those three days, you will be served with a summons and have five days to respond to the eviction lawsuit

Florida Housing Coalition, Tallahassee, 850-878-4219

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, 904-356-8371

Lauderhill — 7%

Pine Hills — 5.88%

Jacksonville — 5.34%

University (Tampa area)  — 5.26%

Miramar — 4.65%


Landlords in Georgia do not have to wait between notifying tenants about missing rent and filing an eviction notice. So once tenants receive a notice, they may end up in eviction court right away.

Also, Georgia law doesn’t require a written eviction notice, so a landlord can verbally serve an eviction notice. But Georgia law does allow the tenant to pay without penalty the owed rent within seven days after receiving a court summons.

Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, 404-521-0790

Georgia Legal Services Program, Atlanta, 404-206-5175

Redan — 13.99%

Union City — 11.67%

East Point — 11.3%

Candler-McAfee — 11.17%

Warner Robins — 10.69%


Landlords in Hawaii must provide tenants with a written five-day notice before pursuing an eviction.

Hawaii Fair Housing Enforcement Program at Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Honolulu, 808-536-4302

Hilo — 0.51%

Kihei — 0.41%

Kahului — 0.26%


Idaho law also requires a written three-day notice be provided to the tenant before proceeding with the eviction process. A tenant can pay rent within that window to stop the eviction proceedings.

Also, Idaho law allows tenants to withhold rent to request repairs..

Idaho Legal Aid Services, Boise, 208-336-8980

Nampa — 1.31%

Post Falls — 1.29%

Burley — 1.2%

Caldwell — 1.18%

Twin Falls — 1.16%


Illinois law calls for a five-day notice before a tenant can be sued for eviction. If the tenant pays rent in that time frame, the landlord can’t pursue an eviction.

Illinois Tenants Union, Chicago, 773-478-1133

Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services, Chicago, 312-986-4000

Matteson — 5.92%

Crest Hill — 5.5%

Kankakee — 5.35%

East St. Louis — 5.27%

Bolingbrook — 4.67%


Indiana may have a high eviction rate compared with the rest of the country, but it does have a more lenient landlord-tenant law, at least when it comes to the notice. Landlords are required to provide a 10-day written notice before filing suit, during which time the tenant can pay back rent.

Indiana Legal Services, Statewide, 844-243-8570; Bloomington office, 812-339-7668 or 800-822-4774

Indiana University Bloomington Tenant Assistant Project

Griffith — 11.27%

Marion — 8.52%

Elkhart — 8.50%

Auburn — 8.06%

Kokomo — 7.95%


Iowa landlords are required to give tenants a three-day window to pay the owed rent before filing an eviction lawsuit. If the tenant pays rent during that time frame, the landlord can’t sue for eviction.

Iowa Legal Aid, Statewide, 800-532-1275

Waterloo — 5.73%

Davenport — 4.72%

Clinton — 4.02%

Ottumwa — 3.72%

Council Bluffs — 3.49%


In Kansas, landlords must provide a three-day notice for tenancies that have lasted less than three months and a 10-day notice for those that have been in place longer.

Kansas Legal Services, Topeka, 800-723-6953

Edwardsville — 7.68%

Park City — 6.88%

Kansas City  — 5.60%

Bonner Springs — 4.86%

Wichita — 4.44%


In Kentucky, tenants are given a seven-day window to pay rent before a landlord can pursue eviction. But like most states, a tenant can fight the eviction in court if the landlord did not hold up his or her end of the lease agreement.

Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, Lexington, 859-431-8200

Kentucky Legal Aid, Western Kentucky, 866-452-9243

Legal Aid Society, Louisville, 502-584-1254

Shively — 5.45%

Franklin — 4.84%

Louisville — 4.82%

Lexington-Fayette — 4.59%

Campbellsville — 4.48%


Louisiana law calls for a five-day notice before a landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. However, that five days is only a grace period to vacate; the state does not allow the tenant to pay rent and avoid eviction.

Legal Services of North Louisiana, Shreveport, 318-222-7186

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Baton Rouge, 225-448-0331; Hammond, 985-345-2130; Covington, 985-893-0076

Woodmere — 7.23%

Baton Rouge — 6.45%

Slidell — 5.49%

Baker — 5.13%

Marrero — 4.30%


In Maine, a tenant must fall seven days behind in rent before a landlord can issue a notice of eviction. After that, a tenant has seven days to pay rent to stop the eviction proceedings.

Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Portland, 207-774-8211

Waterville — 5.25%

Lewiston — 4.79%

Sanford — 4.68%

Augusta — 4.28%

Biddeford — 4.25%


Maryland is one state that has no notification period for landlords who want to evict a tenant. Technically, they can sue a tenant for eviction the day after they serve the resident with a notice.

Still, if tenants pay rent, late fees and court costs on or before the day of the hearing, they can avoid eviction.

Public Justice Center, Baltimore, 410-625-9409

Maryland Legal Aid, Baltimore, 410-951-7777

South Laurel — 7.14%

Chillum — 3.37%

Bowie — 1.93%

Laurel — 1.88%

College Park — 1.50%


To avoid being sued for eviction, tenants in Massachusetts have a 14-day period to pay rent or vacate their rental after a landlord serves legal papers.

Alliance of Cambridge Tenants, 617-499-7031

Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-818, ext. 4

Haverhill — 2.93%

Lynn — 2.75%

Weymouth — 2.71%

Brockton — 2.69%

Framingham — 2.53%


Michigan-based landlords must serve a written seven-day notice before they can file to evict a tenant. The tenant can pay the owed rent within that window to remain in the rental, however.

Lakeshore Legal Aid, Statewide, 888-783-8190

Michigan Poverty Law Program, Ann Arbor, 734-998-6100

Muskegon — 10.91%

Saginaw — 10.54%

Battle Creek — 9.98%

Dearborn Heights — 9.82%

Jackson — 9.71%


In Minnesota, landlords aren’t required to give any notice before pursuing an eviction unless the tenant is “at will” — meaning under an informal, usually month-to-month lease. In that case, a landlord must provide a 14-day notice to vacate before suing for eviction.

Home Line, Minneapolis, 866-866-3546

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, St. Paul, 888-575-2954

East Bethel — 2.59%

Brooklyn Park — 1.86%

Brooklyn Center — 1.44%

Moorhead — 1.38%

Ramsey — 1.23%


Mississippi law requires a three-day notice to pay rent before a landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against a tenant for nonpayment.

Mission First Legal Aid, Jackson, 601-608-0050, ext. 2

Mississippi Center for Legal Services, Statewide, 800-498-1804

Horn Lake — 11.90%

Gulfport — 9.68%

Pascagoula — 9.38%

Jackson — 8.75%

Southaven — 7.86%


Unlike most states, Missouri doesn’t have a specific time requirement for a landlord to demand rent before filing an eviction. However, most legal sites do recommend that landlords give at least three days’ notice.

Arch City Defenders, St. Louis, 855-724-2489

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, St. Louis, 314-534-4200 or 800-444-0514

Spanish Lake — 14.33%

Old Jamestown — 12.76%

Bellefontaine Neighbors — 11.51%

Berkeley — 9.13%

Murphy — 8.75%


In Montana, a a tenant has three days to pay rent upon being served with a notice of late payment by the landlord.

Montana Legal Services Association, Statewide, 800-666-6899

Evergreen — 3.69%

Lockwood  — 2.02%

Hardin — 1.92%

Butte-Silver Bow — 1.86%

Great Falls — 1.81%


In Nebraska, a landlord must serve a three-day notice to a tenant who is late on rent. The renter can avoid eviction by paying within that three-day window.

Legal Aid of Nebraska, Statewide, 877-250-2016

Plattsmouth — 4.79%

Omaha — 3.87%

Waverly — 3.24%

Chalco — 2.68%

Bellevue — 2.63%


Nevada state statutes require landlords to serve a tenant with a five-day notice to pay rent before proceeding with an eviction. If the tenant pays rent in that window, the landlord can’t pursue the eviction.

Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, 702-386-1070

Nevada Legal Services, Las Vegas, 702-386-0404; Reno, 775-284-3491 or 800-323-8666

Whitney — 6.82%

North Las Vegas — 5.82%

Sunrise Manor — 5.31%

Winchester — 5.15%

Paradise — 4.33%

New Hampshire

New Hampshire law provides a one-week time frame for a tenant to pay rent to avoid eviction. This seven-day period begins when the landlord serves the tenant with a written notice, and tenants can pay rent in full plus $15 during that period.

New Hampshire Legal Aid, Statewide, 800-639-5290

(No data on percentage of evictions available.)

New Jersey

New Jersey law doesn’t require a landlord to give a tenant a window to pay rent that is owed, so a tenant may face an eviction lawsuit immediately after failing to pay rent.

New Jersey Tenants Organization, Fort Lee, 201-342-3775

Fair Share Housing Center, Cherry Hill, 856-665-5444

South Plainfield — 0.07%

Newark — 0.05%

Westfield — 0.04%

Clifton — 0.03%

East Orange — 0.03%

New Mexico

New Mexico law requires landlords to serve tenants with a three-day notice to pay rent before pursuing an eviction.

New Mexico Legal Aid, Statewide, 833-545-4357

Albuquerque — 4.72%

Clovis — 3.58%

Roswell — 3.53%

South Valley — 3.10%

Grants — 2.93%

New York

New York landlords must give tenants three days to pay rent before pursuing an eviction. If the renter pays within that window, the landlord can’t sue for eviction.

Legal Services NYC, New York, 917-661-4500

Legal Services of Central New York, Syracuse, 877-777-6152

Poughkeepsie — 2.76%

Auburn — 1.74%

New York — 1.615 (Bronx, 6.23%, Brooklyn, 1.28%, Staten Island, 3.42%)

Watertown — 1.45%

Middletown — 0.95%

North Carolina

If a tenant is late paying rent in North Carolina, the landlord must serve a written notice that gives the renter 10 days to pay before filing an eviction. If the tenant pays within that window, the landlord can’t proceed with the eviction.

Pisgah Legal Services, Statewide, 828-253-0406, 800-489-6144

Graham — 11.14%

Kinston — 10.24%

Shelby — 9.10%

Henderson — 9.08%

Wilson — 8.60%

North Dakota

In North Dakota, a landlord must provide the tenant a three-day notice of eviction, and it must be served by a process server or deputy.


In Ohio, the landlord must give a tenant a three-day notice before suing for eviction. However, unlike in other states, the landlord is not obligated to accept a rent payment during that period or halt the eviction process.

Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, 513-241-9400, 800-582-2682

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Tenant Information Line, Cleveland, 216-861-5955. (For legal help, dial 216-687-1900 or 888-817-3777.)

Legal Aid Society of Columbus, 614-241-2001

East Cleveland — 8.87%

Middletown — 8.41%

Canton — 8.34%

Euclid — 7.93%

Trotwood — 7.72%


Oklahoma law requires a landlord to serve the tenant with a five-day notice to pay rent before pursuing an eviction.

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, 405-521-1302

Neighbor for Neighbor, Tulsa, 918-425-5578

Tulsa — 7.77%

Del City — 7.32%

Midwest City — 6.63%

Durant — 6.46%

Oklahoma City — 6.19%


Oregon has a more lenient law for nonpayment of rent, with a landlord required to wait eight days before serving the tenant with a notice of eviction. Then, the tenant has three days to pay rent or face an eviction lawsuit.

But the landlord has another option: Serve a six-day notice to pay rent on the fifth day after rent is due. Both give 11 days for a tenant to catch up on rent.

Legal Aid Services of Oregon, Portland, 503-224-4086

Portland Tenants United, 503-836-7881

Gresham — 2%

Springfield — 1.86%

Hayesville — 1.65%

Medford — 1.62%

Salem — 1.62%


Pennsylvania law requires a landlord to give a 10-day notice of eviction to the tenant, who can pay during that period and avoid eviction.

Regional Housing Legal Services, Glenside, 215-572-7300

Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, 215-981-3700

Glenolden — 10.03%

Folcroft — 6.99%

Brookhaven — 6.91%

Reading — 6.22%

Uniontown — 4.29%

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, tenants have 15 days to pay rent after the due date before a landlord can serve them with a five-day notice to pay. If the renters don’t pay in those five days, the owner can pursue an eviction.

Rhode Island Legal Services, Providence, 401-274-2652

Providence — 3.82%

Cranston — 2.63%

Warwick — 2.44%

South Carolina

South Carolina law requires the landlord to serve a five-day written notice when the tenant is late with rent before filing an eviction lawsuit. However, the landlord can file suit without notice if the following language is in the lease agreement:

“IF YOU DO NOT PAY YOUR RENT ON TIME. This is your notice. If you do not pay your rent within five days of the due date, the landlord can start to have you evicted. You will get no other notice as long as you live in this rental unit.”

South Carolina Legal Services, Statewide, 888-346-5592

Ladson — 24.00%

St. Andrews — 20.66%

Dentsville — 19.01%

Hanahan — 17.84%

Florence — 16.65%

South Dakota

South Dakota law gives tenants three days to pay rent after it is due. The landlord can serve a three-day notice and file an eviction lawsuit if the rent isn’t paid in that window.

Dakota Plains Legal Services, Mission, 605-856-4444, 800-658-2297

East River Legal Services, Sioux Falls, 800-952-3015

Summerset — 1.9%

Brandon — 1.28%

Box Elder — 1.26%

Harrisburg — 1.09%

Rapid Valley — 1.09%*

* These are eviction filings as opposed to actual evictions.


In Tennessee, landlords must serve a 14-day notice to pay rent once the tenant is late. If the rent remains unpaid, then the owner can sue for eviction.

Memphis Area Legal Services, 901-523-8822

West Tennessee Legal Services, 17 counties, 731-423-0616 or 800-372-8346

Memphis — 4.89%

Athens — 4.13%

Clarksville — 3.90%

Cleveland — 3.51%

Nashville-Davidson — 3.42%


Texas is another state that requires a three-day notices before the landlord can file for eviction.

Austin Tenants Council, 512-474-1961

Lone Star Legal Aid, Houston, 800-733-8394

Killeen — 7.67%

White Settlement — 6.39%

Dickinson — 6.23%

Texas City — 5.98%

Fresno — 5.62%


Utah law requires a landlord to give the tenant a three-day notice before suing for eviction.

Utah Legal Services, Salt Lake City, 801-328-8891 (in Salt Lake County), 800-662-4245 (outside Salt Lake County)

Murray — 2.31%

West Valley City — 2.26%

Taylorsville — 1.97%

Midvale — 1.82%

Magna — 1.79%


Vermont is another state with lenient laws regarding nonpayment of rent. When a tenant is overdue on rent, the landlord must issue a 14-day notice to pay before filing an eviction lawsuit.

Vermont Legal Aid, Statewide, 800-889-2047

Barre — 0.23

Montpelier — 0.11

St. Johnsbury — 0.08

St. Albans — 0.06


In Virginia, landlords must issue a five-day notice to pay rent before starting eviction proceedings against a tenant.

Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, Northern Virginia, 571-572-2238

Legal Aid Justice Center, Charlottesville, 434-529-1849

Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, 21 counties and municipalities, 800-868-1012

Petersburg — 17.56%

Hopewell — 15.69%

Portsmouth — 15.07%

Richmond — 11.44%

Hampton — 10.49%


Washington requires a  landlord to issue a three-day notice to pay rent before suing a tenant for eviction.

Fair Housing Center of Washington, Tacoma, 253-274-9523

Everett — 2.06%

Parkland — 1.99%

Lakewood — 1.89%

Longview — 1.74%

Spokane — 1.66%

West Virginia

West Virginia laws allow landlords to immediately terminate a lease and file an eviction lawsuit as soon as the tenant fails to pay rent on time.

Legal Aid of West Virginia, Statewide, 866-255-4370

Martinsburg — 10.22%

Ranson — 8.09%

Westover — 7.83%

Elkins — 7.14%

Beckley — 5.75%


A landlord has two options for evicting a tenant for failure to pay rent. The owner can issue a five-day notice, in which time the tenant can pay up to avoid eviction. Or the owner can issue a 14-day notice to vacate, in which the tenant has no choice but to move out or face eviction.

Legal Action of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 414-278-7722

Tenant Resource Center, Madison, 608-257-0006 ext. 5

Racine — 5.56%

Beloit — 4.34%

Milwaukee — 4.25%

Kenosha — 3.89%

Janesville — 3.39%


Wyoming-based landlords must provide a three-day notice to tenants before pursuing an eviction lawsuit.

Legal Aid of Wyoming, Statewide, 877-432-9955

Casper — 1.76%

Riverton — 0.91%

Lander — 0.85%

Rock Springs — 0.80%

Evanston — 0.78%

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder.