At various times during the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government, states, and cities have implemented eviction moratoriums. Even where there isn’t a ban in place, most courts across the United States have postponed hearings on non-essential matters—including hearings on eviction and landlord-tenant matters. However, most courts are still hearing eviction matters that are based on reasons other than nonpayment of rent—such as selling drugs on the property or posing a threat to other people or property.

No matter if there is an eviction ban in your area, you are still obliged to pay rent. Depending on the language of a ban, your landlord might be able to assess late fees, interest, or other penalties for not paying the rent on time. If you don’t think you can pay your rent due to COVID-19 related hardships, you have options, and you should consider talking with your landlord as soon as possible.

Check your local court’s website for more information about the status of eviction lawsuits where you live. Also, consider looking into obtaining assistance from federal, state, local, private, or non-profit sources.

State laws set out detailed requirements to end a tenancy. The type of termination notice a landlord must serve depends on the situation, and each state has its own procedures as to how termination notices and eviction papers must be written and delivered (“served”).