How & When to Evict a Tenant? [+Types of Notices]


So you’ve decided to evict tenants from your property. While the process may seem simple, it’s actually pretty complicated. If you do not handle everything correctly, you could end up walking into court with a notice of harassment in your hand. In this article, we’ll discuss how to evict a tenant and what you need to know. By the end of this article, you will be more informed about the topic to make the right decisions. Let’s get started!

Defining Eviction

Let’s go over the meaning of eviction before getting into the process. When eviction is mentioned, it refers to the process a landlord can take to remove a tenant from their property. Eviction involves expelling someone from a rental property if they have not paid rent, engage in illegal activity, or have violated the terms of their rental agreement. Individual states and municipalities govern evictions in the United States.

When Can You Evict a Tenant?

You must have a valid excuse to force your tenant to leave. Some of the most common and legal reasons include:

Illegal Activity

You can remove a tenant if they’re engaging in any form of illegal activity on your property. It is a solid cause for eviction and the court is likely to pass a judgment in your defense.

Property Damage

You can also remove a tenant from your property if they’ve caused property damage. Many tenants also cause damage to property once they’re served with an eviction notice. You must be careful about this type of situation and remember that with proper procedures, you can recover funds for the cost of the damage too.

Nonpayment of Rent

Nonpayment of rent is one of the most common reasons to evict a tenant. If your tenant has not paid rent even after receiving a notice or has a history of bounced checks, you can evict them. However, just like other reasons, you must follow proper court procedures.

Lease Agreement Violations

Both the landlord and tenant must read the lease agreement carefully before signing. If your tenant has violated any term on the agreement, you possess the right to evict them. Common lease agreement violations include keeping a pet, noise violations, long-term guests, or unauthorized renovations to your property.

Expiration of Lease

As per eviction laws, you can start the process to evict a tenant if the lease has expired. Every lease is written for a particular period and if it is not renewed, you have the right to ask your holdover tenant to leave.

While these are considered legal ways to remove a tenant, you must also pay close attention to what is against the law. Here are a few situations where removing a tenant is considered illegal:

  • The tenant has not breached the lease agreement.
  • Evicting a tenant is also illegal if there is no proof of late payments.
  • Removing a tenant before giving a 30-day notice or other eviction paperwork.
  • Exaggerating or producing false claims in court about the tenant.
  • Using self-help eviction to try to evict the tenants yourself.
DID YOU KNOW? Landlords cannot evict tenants based on race, religion, or country of origin. It is illegal and can land you in jail on grounds of discrimination.

Key Takeaways

Eviction is the process through which a landlord can legally ask the tenant to leave a rented property.
Landlords must have a valid and legal reason to evict.
Legal reasons include tenants engaging in illegal activities, property damage, nonpayment, lease agreement violations, and the expiration of the lease.
Eviction is considered illegal if you do not have proof or evict tenants yourself.
Despite having valid reasons, landlords cannot take the matter into their own hands and evict tenants themselves.

How to Evict a Tenant

Here is the process you must follow to evict tenants from your place once you’ve established valid reasons to do so. You must understand the law in your state to make sure that the process you’re following is legal.

Step 1: Talk to Them

The first thing you need to do is talk to the tenants, especially if the reason is simply a late payment and the tenants pay rent most of the time. It is also reasonable if you’re evicting a tenant without a lease.

If you come to an agreement, you can save time and effort and not go through the entire process of evicting and visiting the court. Many tenants will also agree to leave if the reason is valid, as they also don’t want to go to court.

Step 2: Send a Formal Notice

If you and your tenant have not come to an agreement, it is time to send a formal notice. The notice should include the date of eviction as well as the amount that the tenant owes. You should send the eviction letter to the tenant a certain number of days before the eviction date. It is usually 30-days prior but checks your local state laws.

The notice should be delivered to the tenant’s doorstep as well be sent as an email. Make sure to get a receipt of it from the Post Office as well.

Step 3: File Eviction With the Courts

If the renter has still not left after being served with a tenant eviction notice, it’s time to take the matter to court. This is referred to as eviction lawsuits or unlawful detainer (UD) suits. The process involves going to court, paying a fee, and receiving a hearing date. The clerk will ask you to present proof that you’ve sent an eviction notice, which is where the receipt will come in handy. The court will notify the tenant through a summons.

Step 4: Attend the Court Hearing

This is your chance to prove your claim and escort your tenant out. Be patient and present all the facts to the court with adequate proof. Many wonder how does eviction work when taken to court. Here are a few documents you must have in your court hearing:

  • Legally-binding lease agreement
  • Bounced checks
  • Past-due rent proof
  • Phone and email record of you and the tenant to prove you talked to them first
  • Copy of eviction notice
  • The receipt to prove you sent the notice

Step 5: Evict the Tenant

If you’ve presented sufficient proof, the court will rule in your favor. The court will then ask the tenant to leave by a certain date per your local laws. After that, you don’t have to worry about how to get someone out of your house legally.

However, if the tenant does not leave even after a formal court order, you will need to contact the authorities again. You don’t have to take the matter into your hands; the authorities will escort the tenant out.

Step 6: Collect Any Past Due Rent

If you want to collect any rent or monetary amount owed, you have to file a small case lawsuit. This will send the tenant’s employer a court-approved order and enable them to garnish wages. This will ensure that the landlord receives the payment before the tenant is paid by their employer, which will help clear any outstanding rental debts.

Now that we’ve answered when can a landlord evict a tenant as well as the process of doing so, you must be careful the next time you look for a tenant. Screening the tenant will help you determine if they’re right for your property or not, as tenant screening considers various factors to help you make a decision.

Types of Notices

Here are the different types of notices landlords can give to tenants:

Pay Rent or Quit Notice

Pay rent or quit notices are sent to warn the tenant to pay their due rent. It informs the tenant to eitherpay’ or ‘quitthe property. If you’re unsure how to start the eviction process, start with this note. It should include important information like the date, name of the tenant, address, rent amount, and more.

Cure or Quit Notice

Cure or quit notices are sent when the tenant violates the lease agreement or the rental agreement clause. This can include keeping a pet or inviting a roommate to live on the property without informing the landlord. The notice gives the tenant time to ‘cure’ the situation or ‘quit’ the property.

DID YOU KNOW? There are several notices a landlord can send to a tenant, but pay rent or quit and cure or quit are the most common ones.


Eviction is the process of removing a tenant from your property. It can be due to many reasons like not paying rent, the lease expiring, or the tenant engaging in illegal activities. You must follow the proper eviction procedure to make sure the entire process is done legally, which includes sending notices, visiting the court, and getting the authorities involved if necessary.


How long does it take to evict a tenant?

If you take the issue to court, it can take five weeks to three months excluding a 30-day notice period. If you have an agreement with the tenant, it should only take a few days.

How can I get rid of a tenant without going to court?

You can begin by talking to your tenant and asking them to leave. If they don’t agree, you will have to go to court to evict them.

What happens if the tenant refuses to leave?

You must know how to evict a tenant legally if they refuse to leave. Get involved with the court, and the tenant will have to leave once the court orders them to do so.


I am a curiosity-driven creature searching for answers — and questions — in the digital realm. From marketing through online business creation to software tools — I am fascinated by everything that can make life easier. When not looking for meaning, yoga and good food keep me grounded.

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