A landlord must follow several legal steps to obtain a final eviction order, and a tenant may prevent an eviction by negotiating a settlement or winning a judgment at each of these steps, says Nolo. In cities with rent control regulations, tenants have even more extensive rights during this process.
Although there are different regulations according to each state, county or city, a landlord has to take steps to legally terminate a tenancy before seeking eviction, reports Nolo. A landlord generally must serve a notice of termination for cause, such as failure to pay rent or the violation of other terms of the lease agreement, such as a no-pets clause. At this point, the tenant can reach an agreement with the landlord, either privately or in a hearing, addressing the cause. In some areas, a landlord can serve a notice of termination without cause with a 30- or 60-day period to vacate. These notices can also be challenged in court if the landlord did not properly follow legal procedures in preparing the case or if there is proof the landlord behaved illegally prior to the notice.
In areas such as New York City, even when the landlord is granted the right to evict, the process can still be challenged and more time negotiated by the tenant, according to The Legal Aid Society. At this point, the tenant may file an Order to Show Cause petition, requesting the landlord prove his case.