How to Evict a Tenant in 5 Steps + a Free Eviction Checklist

Cody Cromwell
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Learn your State Landlord-Tenant Laws

Where to Find Landlord-Tenant Laws

Experienced real estate investors are already familiar with the general tenant landlord laws and procedures that apply in the United States. But for beginning landlords who have never owned rental units before, it’s important to know that state-specific landlord tenant laws differ greatly depending on your state’s landlord tenant laws.

Below, you can find a table of the landlord tenant laws in all 50 U. S. states. Each state has a landlord tenant section on its statutes website that provides information on landlord and tenant relations. Most of these state statutes include links to locate a specific section. The following state statutes are selected examples and do not represent an exhaustive list.

Also, you can contact your regional landlord tenant rights agency to obtain a copy of the laws and regulations that pertain to your region.

So if you are searching for a place to seek a contract on real estate investment properties, or if you are already investing in real estate, you must have at least one or two states which will give you more significant profit in terms of rent.

Are you a landlord looking for the services of a tenant? Try our free tenant contract in your state. These forms may assist you in getting your tenant to agree to a lease. It should help to take some of the guesswork out of the learn.

Refer to the Terms of Your Lease

Issue an Eviction Notice

Before you can evict a tenant, you’re going to need to file an eviction lawsuit. And as far as the law is concerned, an eviction lawsuit is a complicated process that you’ll have to follow a certain way or else you risk getting things wrong.

The good news is that as long as you follow the steps laid out in your court filing forms, you can avoid making a mistake or missing an important ingredient that could end the eviction process.

So issue an eviction notice to the tenant but also make sure you include instructions on how to respond to the eviction. Include some essential information about what they have to do to respond to the eviction by the court filing deadline. Let the tenant know how they can remove themselves from the property.

Include all of this information in the eviction notice along with any other actionable offers you’ve made. You’ll find the eviction notice, court filing and other court forms on your court’s website. If a timetable or deadline is required please make sure to let them know.

Types of Eviction Notices

There are several types of eviction notices you can use, but this is not always something that will be explicitly noted. If you’re looking for one that is explicitly noted, it would be the Change of Occupant Notice. This can be served by mail, fax, or listed in the local county records.

Tip of the Day: It is worth every time to know the different types of eviction notice and the perfect time to use them. It can be the difference between being able to serve them and being unable to serve them. Knowing how to do legally evict tenants for not paying rent expires or by giving notice of lease termination is also vital. Try using this handy-dandy reminder of the different types of eviction notice in your life.

Begin Eviction Proceedings

Step One: Notify the Tenant (3 Days)

The first step in the eviction process is to notify the tenant of the termination notice. This is accomplished when a tenant is served the termination notice by mail or physically. If the tenant does not receive the termination notice within 3 days of when it was mailed, then you must serve the notice in-person.

Step Two: Notice of Termination of Tenancy (30 Days)

The second step in the eviction process is the notice of termination. The notice of termination informs the tenant that they are terminated from the rental unit and that they have 10 days to vacate the rental unit. If the tenant does not vacate the rental unit within 10 days after the notice of termination is served, then they have to move out of the rental unit.

Step Three: Issue a Summons

After the notice of termination is served, you will need to issue a summons. The summons will be issued to the tenant and their right to appear is removed under section 35 of the Residential Tenancies Act. A form can be accessed here.

If a tenant notifies you that the notice was not received or they cannot serve it themselves, then they can have someone serve the notice of termination for them. Be sure to inform the tenant that if they need to hire someone for this, they are responsible for paying the fee.

Evicting a Tenant in Court

If the two parties cannot agree on the terms of the lease and are defaulting on the lease, the landlord may begin the eviction process by serving a Notice to Quit. This provides the tenant with a final chance to rectify the situation or to pay overdue rent. If the tenant does not leave by the date on the notice, the landlord may file an unlawful detainer lawsuit. The tenant may choose to request a court hearing on this lawsuit. If the tenant requests a hearing, the court may stay the eviction (delay it) for up to 15 days.

How the Court Evicts Tenants

There are actually three steps involved in evicting a tenant. The Landlord is expected to try and resolve the tenant’s default voluntarily, and if the tenant does not voluntarily comply with your demands – and especially if you have gone to the expense and trouble of actually going to court to get an order of possession – then you may apply for an order of possession yourself.

If an order of possession is made by the court, the court can then require the tenant to leave.

If he doesn’t leave, then you can have the police evict the tenant or – if you’re not bothered – you can do it yourself.

Three Ways to Get a Tenant to Leave

A landlord has three options to try and get their tenant to leave:

Pay the Rent or Break the Lease – This is the easiest and most traditional method and is probably the first thing you’ll do to try and evict a tenant.

Executing an Eviction

How to Protect Yourself from Bad Tenants in the Future

An Alternative to the Eviction Process: Cash for Keys

COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium FAQs

Does an eviction exemption apply to the moratoria? An exemption is only available for specific reasons. The only exception to the prohibition against seeking an extension of time to file an eviction complaint for cause is if the landlord or tenant is a renter who resides in a multifamily dwelling. The landlord or tenant is not eligible for an exemption if the landlord or tenant resides in a single family dwelling.

Does an exemption apply to the moratoria?

No, the statute prohibits evictions on or after May 1, 2016.

Must an eviction complaint naming the property as the "defendant" have a separate filing fee?

Yes, a separate filing fee must be paid for each eviction complaint in an action.

If a landlord is served by mail, must the landlord respond to the service of the complaint in the same manner?

Yes, if a landlord is served by mail, he or she must respond to the complaint in the same manner as if served in person, i.e., by filing an answer or motion to dismiss.

Is a "good cause" notice sufficient proof of the limitation periods, or is additional proof necessary?

No proof is necessary. However, a "good cause" notice is not sufficient evidence of the limitation periods.

Are landlords who are served by mail required to comply with the deadline for the response to complaint?

My tenant stopped paying rent. How long do I have to wait before I can evict during the COVID-19 pandemic?

US law states that you must wait 30 days after the debtor has missed their final payment before you can file for eviction. However, in most cases you will have less time to wait. In Pandemic co-authored by World Book and the American Bar Association, voluntary mass evacuations were implemented. These evacuations involved the entire city of Mandoporn being evacuated by helicopter. The entire school system is also shut down for a week and many key officials are at home and would not be able to work at the city’s local chief’s office. Having so many officials at home for a week will cause negative effects on the city’s ability to function.

There are many things you might do within the first 30 days to try to get your tenant to pay up, but it is much more beneficial to wait in order to protect yourself from repercussions. These first 30 days will be very busy as other posters deal with co-op board members that refuse to move into the city, many police and emergency services are also dealing with the pandemic. So, it will take time for the city to be able to focus on your tenant’s rent situation. You have less than a month time to deal with it, and many of the city officials may be dealing with this directly or trying to focus on the pandemic.

As a landlord, am I eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or any other sources of relief funding?

There are no public sources of funding for either landlords or tenants. Filing for a bankruptcy is one possible relief funding, but the court has to determine that it is warranted. So, it is up to an individual to determine their eligibility.

If you think you are eligible for the PPP or any other programs, you may wish to seek assistance with the following:

  • Request a credit check;
  • Estimate your tax liability for the next few years, depending on your income;
  • Interview your potential landlords to find out if they are your best option;
  • Will more than 2/3 of the home get repossessed if I am, in fact, eligible for the program?
  • If a lawsuit is filed, and the judgment is against my business, can the judgment be run against only my personal assets or can I lose my business too?
  • Does the bankruptcy court have to fully back up my judgment to the county courthouse to force paying the tenant?
  • Do I need to give the demand letter or order to pay filed in the court a court seal and if so, how do I do that?
  • How long will my bankruptcy stay on my credit report and how bad will it be?

My tenant stopped paying their utility bills along with the rent. I’m worried this will damage my property. Can utilities be turned off during the coronavirus pandemic?

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How to Evict a Tenant in 5 Steps + a Free Eviction Checklist

In case you were wondering, the tenant did clear the throat and then drove to Fayetteville to see if they could rent a car. They then went to Atlanta and back. They even tried to find a job out there while they were there.

Now the new place they found is only for people with credit scores near 800. They could not qualify.

I’m worried this will damage the apartment down the road, I think renters would rather continue to pay rent then risk moving in to the house. Cooking is back on, but they are still cooking up a storm. I have all of the utility bills going back over a year. I tried showing them that they are leeching the system and do not pay their own utility bills. They will not budge. They don’t think it is a big deal.

I live in an apartment building with a 7 unit compound. I pay on a month to month basis. I had to put a hold on my utilities in order to make sure that I was able to pay them again, the money that is withheld is all my money for deposit. Those very same bills, 2 different companies were also deducted from my deposit when I moved into the apartment.

I don’t have a federally backed mortgage and cannot make payments because my tenants stopped paying rent. What can I do?

Bottom Line

Now let’s discuss the 5 step eviction if you were to evict the tenant instantly. The final step will cover the 10 day notice gives you to evict the tenant from the premises.

Step 1: First step is to serve a Notice to Quit to the tenant. This means putting in the mail box a piece of paper informing the tenant that he/she must pack up his/her belongings and leave the house immediately.

This piece of paper is called the Notice to Quit and it has to be served to the tenant by the landlord personally.