An illegal eviction is when your landlord locks you out of your apartment or pushes you out with force instead of following your state's guidelines for evicting tenants. If a landlord creates a reason for evicting you that's false or exaggerated then that could also be considered an illegal eviction.
If your landlord tries to illegally evict you then you can call the police right away. In many states, police offers get specific training about what to do in this situation. For example in New York, the NYPD's training manual tells officers to arrest and charge the landlord. In Texas a landlord has to follow a painstaking process for changing the locks to your rental unit if they want to go lock you out legally. In some states, even if your landlord does have a court order to evict you they still need to have a member of local law enforcement make you leave instead of doing it them self.
Faking "just cause"
The other common way that a landlord may try to illegally evict you is by falsifying just cause or not having just cause for eviction. In general, if you're on the lease, your landlord has to have a reason like nonpayment of rent or a breach of the lease in order to evict you. Your landlord can't say you've breached the lease when you haven't, change the lease after you signed it to make it seem like you breached it or evict you for doing something that isn't a breach of the lease.
If you're a holdover tenant then the rules are more lax for them.
Every state has specific guidance on what is and what isn't just cause - so read up on your state's eviction laws if you think your landlord is thinking about evicting you for something that wouldn't meet the criteria.
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