LEGAL DICTIONARY

Eviction

An eviction put simply, is the forcible removal of a resident or tenant from a property where they currently reside. This may be necessary if the person renting the property breaches the terms of their lease or rental agreement or may occur if the occupier defaults on their mortgage.

As a legal process, the following terms may also be used to refer to an eviction:

  • Unlawful detainer
  • Summary possession
  • Summary dispossess
  • Summary process
  • Forcible detainer
  • Ejectment
  • Repossession

Be aware, however, that the eviction process differs depending on what state you are in. For exact details on what you must do to legally evict someone, be sure to check your local bylaws and regulations or consult a lawyer before starting.

To help you get a better idea of what this process involves, this article explains more about how evictions work. Read on for a simplified guide on how the process to dispossess a person or group of people from a property can be achieved and what landlords must consider when they take this form of action.

How Does The Eviction Process Work?

In almost all states, you will need to observe a number of important guidelines before actually evicting a person from a rental property that you own. Remember, an eviction is a lawsuit process and therefore you must make sure that you follow the correct steps for your actions to be legally valid.

If you find yourself in a situation where a clear and flagrant violation of the lease agreement has taken place, such as the non-payment of rent or misuse of the property, you may begin eviction proceedings. Alternatively, you may need to consider this course of action if the tenant simply refuses to leave the premises once the lease reaches its expiration date.

Of course, as a landlord, it is a good idea to first talk to the tenant to see if the matter can be resolved satisfactorily by talking to the tenant before issuing a written warning letter. If this does not fix the problem you should take the following steps.

  1. First, you must present the tenant with a written warning notice (known simply as an eviction notice form or Notice to Vacate in most states). This must provide a sufficient amount of days’ notice for the tenant to correct the violation or leave the property.
  2. If the eviction letter proves unsuccessful and the tenant doesn’t pay or quit, or correct the violation and vacate as instructed, the landlord should file a complaint with their local court.
  3. Once papers have been served, the tenant and landlord will need to both appear in court on an assigned date.
  4. The judge will hear the arguments of both parties and will rule on the outcome.
  5. If the landlord is successful, they will be granted a Warrant of Eviction and may now forcibly evict the tenant if necessary.

An eviction is an uncomfortable but sometimes necessary option that landlords may have to consider when renting a property. However, as stated above it is absolutely essential that they follow the right and legal steps when doing so to make sure the eviction sticks and isn’t challenged in court.