Understanding when and how to evict a tenant is an important part of being a successful landlord. If you want to be a responsible and lawful landlord who respects tenant rights and works to keep the peace between you and your renter, you need to know when and under what circumstances you can legally evict a tenant.
Understanding Just Cause
The first thing any landlord needs to know is that evicting a tenant is a legal process that ends with a court order. If you own property and wish to evict a tenant, you must be familiar with the applicable state and federal laws governing landlord-tenant interactions in order to do so. Evicting a tenant without proper legal grounds could lead to fines or even a lawsuit.
To evict a tenant, you must have what is known as “just cause.” Just cause eviction statutes require that you have a legal justification to evict the tenant, such as nonpayment of rent, property damage, or violation of the lease terms. You cannot evict a tenant unless you have just cause.
Reasons You Can Evict
Nonpayment of rent is one of the most prevalent reasons landlords evict tenants. If your renter fails to pay their rent on time, you can issue them formal notice that they have a set number of days to pay or vacate the property, as required by state law. If the tenant fails to comply, you may file for eviction. Just make sure you respect the conditions of your lease as well as any state and municipal laws that may apply.
Property damage is another typical reason for eviction. If your tenant has caused serious damage to the property that goes beyond regular wear and tear, you can serve them with a written notice requiring them to remedy the damage or depart the property. If the tenant fails to comply, you may file for eviction.
Other reasons for evicting a tenant include breaching other terms of their lease. If your tenant has a pet and your contract prohibits pets, you can issue them formal notice to remove the pet or depart the property. If the tenant fails to comply, you may file for eviction. The same is true for all other lease terms.
Reasons You Cannot Evict
Even if a renter has done something that would seem to warrant eviction, there are a few more reasons why you can’t evict. For example, you cannot remove a tenant because they have requested that you make repairs to the property or have complained about the rental unit’s circumstances. Furthermore, you cannot evict a tenant because of their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial situation, or disability. These protected classifications cannot lawfully be used as the reason for an eviction, and attempting to do so may result in a discrimination lawsuit.
Carrying Out an Eviction
When faced with the need to evict a tenant, it is important to be aware of the necessary procedures that must be followed. To initiate the eviction process, it is important to provide the tenant with a written notice that clearly states the reasons for eviction and specifies the deadline by which they are required to move out of the property. To proceed, it is necessary to file an eviction petition with the court and ensure that the tenant is properly served. If the tenant does not show up for their court date, it is possible for you to obtain a default judgment in your favor. If the tenant continues to refuse to leave the property, you may have the legal authority in your area to have them removed.
Evicting a tenant can be a challenging process, but it is sometimes required. Understanding the reasons for evicting a renter and the steps involved in the eviction process can help minimize legal risks and create a fair and respectful living environment for everyone involved.
If you find yourself in a precarious eviction predicament, it would be prudent to seek guidance from a seasoned property management specialist. Contact your nearby Real Property Management office now to get in touch with a knowledgeable rental property expert in your area. Don’t delay, reach out today!
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