Do you know the proper steps on evicting a tenant? Learn how to evict a tenant from your rental property with our full guide to the eviction process.
Before you can evict someone, you're required by law to send him or her a notice to quit. This notice will give your tenant last chance to make amends. There are two types of notice to quit:
Notice to Pay or Quit: This notice is served to tenants who owe you rent. It gives them a final deadline to pay the rent or leave the property. Upon receiving this notice, tenants typically have 3 days to pay up, but the some areas give them up to 14 days to respond.
Notice to Comply or Quit: Also known as a notice to perform or quit, this notice is sent to tenants who have broken the terms and conditions of your lease agreement. It typically gives them 14 days to fix the violation or they will have to vacate the premises. Certain offenses such as refusing lawful access to the property or changing of locks have to fixed within 24 hours.
If your tenant refuses to cooperate by the end of the deadline, then you'll proceed to the next step on how to evict a tenant.
Once the deadline for your notice to quit expires, you should file an unlawful detainer action with your local courthouse to formally kick off the process to evict a tenant. An unlawful detainer action is a lawsuit filed by the landlord to evict a tenant from the rental property.
Remember you have to prove that you have already sent the tenant the appropriate notice to quit (proof of service) and that no corrective action has been taken by the tenant.
The court will then issue a summons to your tenant to show up in court (within 7 to 14 days). In some areas, the landlord is responsible for serving this summons.
At this point of the eviction process, there are three possible outcomes:
1. Your tenant moves out - In general, more than half the tenants will leave after receiving a court summon. Congratulations! In this case, you can begin looking for a new tenant right away.
2. Your tenant doesn't turn up for the court hearing - In this case, your tenants will have up to 7 days before the local authorities or police will take action to forcefully remove them.
3. You tenant turns up for the court hearing - Please continue to Step 3 of how to evict a tenant.
Evicting someone for non-payment of rent - Bring records of the tenant's rent payments and credit report. It's imperative that you don't accept any rent payments once the eviction process has begun or it may affect the results of the court hearing.
Evicting a tenant for lease violations - Bring any supporting documents that will help your case - signed complaints by co-tenants/neighbors, filed police reports and photo evidence if any.
How to evict someone for property damages - Bring your move in check list (signed by both parties), property damage report (with repair cost estimates) prepared by a home inspector or licensed contractor and photo evidence.
If the landlord wins the lawsuit - The tenant has to move out of the rental property. The tenant may also have to pay for damages (e.g. overdue rent, repair costs) plus the landlord's legal fees (filing, court and attorney costs).
If the tenant wins the lawsuit - The tenant can continue staying on the rental property. The court may also order the landlord to pay for the tenant's court and attorney fees.