As a landlord or property manager, you know that tenant issues are part and parcel of the job. Whether they just don’t pay rent, disturb all your other tenants, or destroy portions of their rentals, it can seem as if there’s little you can do to get rid of them and make your life easier. However, as long as you keep your ducks in a row and follow the law, you can legally evict a tenant.
When Can I Send a Tenant an Eviction Notice?
There are three major types of eviction notices that you as a landlord or property manager can send to a tenant. The terminology varies from state to state, but the basic requirements for being able to send the documents and what actions they require are the same.
The three types of notices to legally evict a tenant are:
- Pay Rent or Quit Notices: These notices are used when a tenant hasn’t paid rent. They give the renter a few days – usually three to five days – to pay the rent in full or “quit” the property, or move out.
- Cure or Quit Notices: If a tenant violates a condition of the lease, such as a no-pets clause or a tenant has made excessive noise, a Cure or Quit Notice is sent. The renter has a set amount of time to “cure” or fix the offending condition (for example, either getting rid of a pet or paying the stated pet deposit) or they may be subject to eviction proceedings.
- Unconditional Quit Notices: These are the harshest of all the notices. When one of these is sent, the tenant must quit the property without any opportunity to pay back rent or remedy a lease violation. These notices are reserved for the most severe violations, including repeated significant violation of the rental agreement, late rent on more than one occasion, serious damage to the rental property, or conducting illegal activity on the premises, such as dealing drugs.
In some cases, a tenant will not pay back rent or fix a lease violation even after receiving one of the above notices. If this happens, you may decide to pursue other methods of trying to legally evict a tenant.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS I NEED TO TAKE TO LEGALLY EVICT A TENANT?
If the time set out in your notice passes by without the tenant fixing the issue included in the notice, it’s time for you to file the eviction with the court in your local jurisdiction.
At the courthouse, you will file the eviction notice and pay a fee, as well as provide documentation – usually in the form of a certified mail receipt – that the amount of time listed in your notice has passed by with no response. The court clerk then sets a court date for the eviction hearing and notifies the tenant via a Summons, often served by your local sheriff’s office.
As you wait for the court hearing, gather all your necessary documentation to prove not only the tenant’s violation, but also your attempts to get the renter to remedy the situation. Evidence you may need to present to the court includes:
- Lease agreements
- Bounced checks
- Prior payment records
- Police reports (if necessary)
- Photos and documentation of damage or violation
- Phone and email communication records between you and your tenant
- Copies of written notices sent to the tenant
- Dated proof that the tenant received the notice
At the hearing, the judge will take all evidence and testimony from both sides into consideration before making a ruling. If the judge rules the tenant should be evicted, they will have a set amount of time to vacate the rental. If they do not leave within that time, you may call the sheriff’s office to enforce the eviction.
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