Evictions are fickle legal processes.
- Got a problem tenant?
- Have they violated the lease terms?
- Are you considering evicting them?
Don’t be fooled into thinking changing the locks will do the trick. Evictions require a landlord to follow strict state procedures. It is always best to consult an attorney or someone specializing in evictions in your state.
When beginning the eviction process you must serve your tenant with some form of written notice based on the local and/or state laws where the residence is located. This notice needs to specify the actions your tenant must take to stop the eviction process and keep you from filing suit. Below are the basic notices a landlord can use to notify their tenant they have violated the lease or that they need to vacate the property.
Basic eviction notices
Unconditional quit notice
—this is the most extreme notice a landlord can give their tenant. Essentially this notice requires the tenant to vacate the property and provides them no chance to rectify their mistakes. This notice is typically used when the tenant has repeatedly broken the lease agreement, has significantly damaged the property or has engaged in illegal activity.
Cure or quit notice
—this notice typically provides the tenant a certain amount of time to “cure” (stop violating the lease agreement) or “quit” (vacate the property). Most landlords use this notice when they want a tenant to stop making excessive noise, need to ask their unauthorized roommate to leave or if they need to remove a pet from the property because they have a no pet clause in the lease.
Pay or quit notice
—this notice is used when a landlord wants the tenant to “pay” their past due rent or vacate (quit) the property. Often the notice gives the tenant 3 to 5 days to pay rent but this time frame might vary depending on the state in which you live.
30 day or 60 day notice to vacate
—these notices are used when a landlord needs to terminate a tenancy without reason. The length of notice will vary slightly depending on your state laws.
Rent control eviction exceptions
—in cities and states with rent control exception regulations the landlord will be required to have a legitimate reason for ending tenancy. These regulations are also known as just cause eviction protection laws.
—can only be filed after a tenant has received written notice stating the end of tenancy. If the tenant has not paid past due rent or continues to violate the lease agreement you must have them legally served with summons or complaint.
Forcible Entry and Detainer
—the legal term used for “eviction.”
—tenant’s claims for money from the landlord; is usually filed in response to a landlord’s suit if the tenant feels they have also been wronged
—a default judgment is like forfeiting. The tenant did not file an answer or show up in court automatically resulting in a judgment.
After you receive a positive ruling from the judge make sure you file a request to have the tenant removed from the property by the date stated in your ruling. You can file a request with the local DPS or at your county housing office. Check the requirements laid out in your state or city. You want to be prepared if your tenant refuses to leave. And you cannot forcibly remove them yourself you need to have them removed by local law enforcement.
All five of the notices discussed come with an ARPOLA membership. These legally binding forms are powered by US Legal and are available for download immediately after joining. For more information please click here.
This article was adapted from How Evictions Work: What Renters Need to Know written by Janet Portman and Marcia Stewart and CommunityLegalAid.org.
For more information regarding what a landlord should consider when evicting a tenant please read Aaron Larson’s post on expertlaw.com.