Eviction describes the action of a landlord or other property owner removing someone, normally a tenant from a property. Evictions are also referred to as an unlawful detainer.
Eviction Notice for Landlords
In order for a landlord to evict a tenant, they must first provide notice to the tenant. The required amount and form of notice will vary depending on the state the property is located. The three most common notices are:
- Pay Rent or Quit Notices: Used when a tenant has not paid rent and provides a set number of days in which they must move out.
- Cure or Quit Notices: Used when a tenant violates a condition of the lease or rental agreement (ex. no pets clause). The tenant has a set amount of time to cure the violated condition or move out.
- Unconditional Quit Notices: Used when there is no option to solve the situation. The tenant is not given an opportunity to pay or cure. State requirements dictate when these notices may be used.
- Month-to-Month Termination: If the tenant is in a month-to-month occupancy, the landlord must provide the statutorily mandated notice before terminating the tenancy.
If the tenant fails to vacate after the eviction notice is provided, the landlord must file a lawsuit to evict, called an unlawful detainer lawsuit.
If the unlawful detainer lawsuit is successful, the court will issue a judgment for possession of the property. The judgment must be tendered to a local law enforcement officer who will inform the tenant that they must vacate. If the tenant fails to do so, the officer must return to remove the tenant.
How to Write an Eviction Notice
In the event that a renter has violated some term of their lease, a landlord is entitled to serve them an eviction notice. An eviction notice needs to state several pieces of information
- Tenant’s Name and Address
By including the tenant’s name and address explicitly within the eviction notice, the recipient cannot claim that the eviction notice was not issued to them. For landlords that own multiple properties, listing the tenant’s specific address prevents the notice from being attributed to a different building.
- Original Date of Signed Lease
The lease date acts as proof that the tenant was aware of the conditions of their tenancy as well as the causes or lease termination. This removes plausible deniability from the tenant’s side.
- Date the Notice is Served
By including the date the notice is served, you establish the timeline of the eviction process if the situation ever goes to court. Likewise, tenant’s cannot claim they were given the eviction notice on a later date to buy more time.
- Reason for Eviction
There are several accepted reasons for eviction.
Pay Rent or Quit Notices
This eviction notice is issued when a tenant fails to pay rent. In order to continue the lease, the tenant must pay rent by the time period specified or they will be evicted.
Cure or Quit Notices
If a tenant violates part of their lease agreement, such as keeping a pet against lease regulations, the tenant must “cure” or remedy the issue or face eviction in the specified time frame.
Unconditional Quit Notices
These eviction notices do not give tenants the opportunity to remedy the situation. They are used in extenuating circumstances, such as a tenant performing illegal activity in the property or by threatening other tenants. The specifics for unconditional quit notices vary from state to state.
If a tenant is living on a month-to-month basis, a landlord must issue a formal notice of the termination of the lease. Unlike the previous eviction notices, month-to-month termination is merely a landlord choosing not to extend the lease and does not legal cause. Tenants are entitled to at least 30 days before they are evicted to find alternative lodging.
Fixed Term Termination
Like month-to-month termination, fixed term termination does not require a violation of the tenant’s lease. The landlord is simply not extending their contract for another year. Again, tenant’s will have a time period in which they are expected to find alternative lodging before they must vacate.
- Time Period to Fix Violations
An eviction notice must include a period of time that gives the tenant the opportunity to fix their violation. In many cases, this time period is 3 days, but this can vary. This proves the tenant knew about their violation and was given a chance to fix the issue before they were evicted.
- Lease Termination Date
If a tenant does not comply and refuses to pay rent or address violations, the eviction notice must include the formal date they will be evicted. Again, having a formal eviction date leaves no room for error on the tenant’s part.
- Landlord’s Signature
The landlord’s signature is imperative because it proves to the tenant that the eviction notice is legitimate and it proves for the landlord’s records that the notice was filed.
Evicting a Family Member
While very similar to a standard eviction notice, evicting a family member requires a few more pieces of information. A family member in a household can be classified as a tenant or as a licensee.
A family member classified as a tenant is privy to all the rights granted to tenants in a rental lease. To be classified as a tenant, there does not need to be a formal lease, simply the payment of rent. Rent can be considered a monthly payment or contributing to the costs of the household. If your family member pays for utilities or groceries but does not pay formal rent, they are still classified as a tenant, and tenants’ must be served a legal eviction notice.
Certain states do not require legal filing of eviction if a family member has not paid rent. Other states qualify these family members as a licensee. A licensee is considered more than a house guest and is granted more rights. Licensee’s require a legal eviction notice.
Ensuring Eviction Is Handled Appropriately
If you need help with eviction documents and filing requirements, contact us now.