Before you can have a tenant removed from a rental property, you have to start by giving proper notice. Without it, you can’t begin the court process required to end tenancy.
Each state has its own requirements which may or may not include the right for the tenant to cure (correct) his or her violation and stay the remaining term of the existing lease agreement.
Determining the Tenancy Violation
Before you can go to court, you need to assess whether or not the tenant violated the terms of the lease and follow your state’s notice requirements.
Tenant violations are categorized into two types:
- Curable – These are violations that state laws allow for an opportunity to cure. This means a tenant is given a chance to correct the problem such as being late on the rent and bringing it current or maybe boarding a pet and then removing it by finding it another home.
- Incurable – These are violations that allow landlords to ask the tenant to leave without a chance to cure the problem such as committing an act of domestic violence, holding over at the end of tenancy, and repeating the same lease violations (It’s up to the landlord whether or not he or she wants to give the tenant an opportunity to cure).
Learning Your State Required Time Frames
For a list of each states’ time frame requirements for eviction notices, please see the following references based on the type of violation:
Using the Proper Eviction Notice
Now that you’ve determined the type of violation and how much time must be given to the tenant to either cure or
quit, you need to complete one of the applicable forms:
• Notice to Cure or Quit – used for curable violations.
• Notice to Quit – used for incurable violations.
You may either use one of the AmericanLandlord.com forms or or contact the local Clerk of the Court for the jursidiction where the rental property is located. Some local clerks will provide a free form packet, while others may charge a nominal fee.
Sending and Posting Your Eviction Notice
Time is of the essence and there should never be an ability for a tenant to put forth a defense of not receiving an
eviction notice to delay proceedings. Therefore, it’s always best to send a copy by certified mail and post another copy of the notice in a conspicuous place at the entry of the dwelling unit where one would be reasonably expected to see it.
Going to Court
If the tenant fails to cure or quit by the time frame or date indicated in your notice, then you may proceed to seek
the court’s assistance by filing a lawsuit to take possession of the property.
Since the procedures of each jurisdiction may vary, it is best to contact your local Clerk of the Court for specific
information and help. For your review, we have summed up what generally happens next…
Common Eviction Court Procedures
• File a Complaint and Summons: Most clerks will have self-help packets and will provide assistance with filling out
these forms. Expect to pay a court filing fee of a few $100’s.
• Serve the Tenant: The tenant needs to be notified to appear in court. It will cost about $50-$75 to have a process server hand deliver the summons.
• Wait for the Tenant to Respond: If the tenant fails to respond, you may file a motion for a final hearing/final
judgment. If the tenant responds with a defense, then the court will schedule a hearing to listen to both sides.
• Court Awards Final Judgment for Possession: If the tenant has not moved out after the court grants you possession, you may then file a Writ for Possession so law enforcement can remove the tenant from the property.