Eviction is just the worst part of the rental business. Oddly enough, many people do not recognize what an eviction is. Sure, it is the act of ejecting a tenant from a rental property – as we all know. But we might prefer to modify that definition slightly. It is the act of ejecting a tenant from the property legally.
In most counties, the formal eviction method is as follows:
- Terminate the lease with the proper legal notice.
- When the tenant does not leave, file an action with the native eviction court.
- Attend a hearing.
- Win the judgment.
- Show up on “eviction day” with the sheriff and reclaim possession of the unit.
- Change the locks.
Self-help eviction, when a landlord does it on his own, is prohibited. And it gets thousands of landlords in trouble each year. A self-help eviction is when a landlord retakes possession of a property without using the eviction process. Every state prohibits a landlord from using self-help to evict a tenant from the landlord.
The proper, legal way to do an eviction starts off with an eviction notice. To see how eviction notices are written in California, see the link Property in California.
The first step of an eviction is to terminate the lease or agreement. To end a fixed-term lease (yearly lease, for example) early, you need to have a legitimate reason, or “just cause,” to do so. Month-to-month contracts may be terminated relatively simply with little notice – typically 30 days.
Here are 5 legal reasons to evict a tenant:
1. Nonpayment of Rent
The most common reason for lease termination and eviction is nonpayment of rent. It is a straightforward concept to understand: “If you do not pay, you cannot stay.” Most courts and judges are logical about this and allow few exceptions to permitting a non-paying tenant to stay.
2. Lease Violation
The second most frequent reason for eviction is when a tenant violates a lease clause. Many violations will permit the landlord to terminate the lease if the difficulty is not corrected quickly (anywhere from 3-30 days). Here are the most common lease violations:
- Unauthorized Pets
Having pets when none are allowed or having more pets than what is permitted.
- Extended Guests or Unapproved Occupants
Many residents suppose that they will take their boyfriend or girlfriend into the unit without asking the landlord. However, most leases do not permit any occupants aside from those listed on the contract. Unapproved occupants can be illegal, depending on the terms of the lease.
- Unapproved Subletting
Most leases grant a resident exclusive rights to occupy the lodging. This implies that the landlord cannot rent it to anyone else. However, it additionally means that the tenant is under an equivalent restriction. Most thorough leases prohibit subletting without previous approval. A tenant must ask your permission to sublet the apartment.
- Improper Use
Many home-based businesses are not allowed to operate out of a residential lodging. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, it might be OK for the tenant to open up a home-based, office-type business from the rental unit. But not a car wash, or a doggy day spa. A “residential” lease ought to be used for private functions and not occupied by a high-traffic business.
3. Property Damage
Even though a majority of tenants do not cause intentional damage to the property, the landlord has the right to evict tenants if they do. If the tenants are careless damage your property, it is your right to evict them.
4. Illegal or Drug-Related Activity
When a resident is committing a criminal offense, the police may need to investigate. Landlords grant very little grace to drug-dealers. In most states, a landlord will terminate a lease within 24 hours (or less) notice for drug or crime-related activity.
5. Expiration of Lease
Every good thing eventually seems to end. However, sometimes a tenant refuses to move out. If the lease has naturally terminated, or if the landlord has initiated termination with correct notice, then the tenant now no longer has any right to occupy the lodging. This is enough reason to file an eviction process in court.
Be sure to follow the laws on writing and serving of notices. Collect the information and documentation to prove a tenant isn’t paying the rent. Or, get police reports detailing criminal or disruptive behavior that you want to evict tenants for. Legal serving of proper notices and being prepared in court can help landlords get the eviction done on the first attempt.