Evicting Unwanted Tenants

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on June 14, 2006 under Eviction | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

There are innumerable reasons a landlord may wish to evict his / her tenant, factors that range from:

  1. Failure to pay rent.
  2. Breaching or breaking the lease.
  3. Trashing or causing considerable damage to the place, or
  4. Any other reason that gives the landlord “good cause” to evict a tenant.

Each state has its own laws on eviction proceedings, laws which vary widely state to state, and are sometimes called “summary dispossess” or “unlawful detainer” lawsuits. Extremely detailed, eviction laws have to be followed to the T of a landlord is to successfully evict an unwanted tenant. Most if not all states, have special restrictions on eviction that apply to residential leases, and these restrictions have to be met precisely before permission is granted to a landlord to evict his / her tenant.

As a rule, a landlord is required to give his / her tenant a “notice to quit” before he / she can begin eviction proceedings. If rent remains unpaid or else other problems remain unsolved, and the tenant refuses to leave even after notice to quit period has expired, a landlord can then go ahead and file a lawsuit, but normally cannot remove a tenant at the expiration of the notice period.

You can consider a lawsuit as initiated, when legal papers are served to the tenant in the form of a summons and complaint. The court hearing pertaining to the case is held in a relatively short period of time, sometimes as soon as 14-days after the serving of the summons and complaint.

At eviction hearings, tenants usually present various defences, such as, right to deduct rent due to the condition of the premises or a miscalculation in rent accounting. The tenant may also prove that he / she is being evicted in retaliation for certain actions, such as,

  1. Request for repairs to rental accommodation.
  2. Complaints regarding discrimination in housing.
  3. Rallying other tenants against the landlord.
  4. Reporting housing code violations or asking for code inspections.

After the hearing, if the court rules in favour of the landlord, a tenant is allowed a short period of time to move out before the landlord begins proceeding to forcibly evict the tenant. If the tenant does not voluntarily leave, the landlord can request law enforcement officers to assist him in completing the eviction process. As such, an enforcement officer will issue an official notice informing the tenant, the police will arrive at a certain time to physically remove him / her and his / her possessions from the premises.

It is imperative the landlord does not engage in any acts of self-help i.e. changing locks, turning off utilities, removing the tenants belongings or forcibly attempting to remove the tenant, himself. A landlord must bear in mind; self-help in most states is considered a crime and is completely outlawed. As long as you follow the law, there is no reason a landlord will not be allowed to evict an unwanted tenant. Your best bet in eviction cases is to go by the rules, the best and only solution to solve tenant problems!

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