An eviction process usually starts when a tenant who is under a lease agreement, written or verbal, breaks any part of the terms and conditions of that agreement. The process typically begins with the landlord giving notice that the lessee (i.e. tenant) has violated a portion of the agreement. Every State has their own process which is sometimes referred to as an “unlawful detainer.”
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Month to Month Tenancy – If the landlord and tenant have a rental arrangement where either may cancel at anytime a letter stating a termination date may be used to cancel the lease. The notice must be given with the State time-frame (if any), and once given, to landlord or tenant, the time period begins. Usually the notice period is thirty (30) days.
Non-Compliance – Notice is given to a tenant that has violated any part of a lease (except any terms that are in relation to the payment of rent). There are two (2) types of compliance notices;
- Curable – Allows the tenant time to “cure” or fix the violation within a certain amount of time or else they must leave
- Incurable – Does not allow the tenant to “cure” the issue and they must move-out within the timeframe suggested in the notice.
Non-Payment of Rent – Typically this notice is different from all other types in the State as it only relates to the violation of not paying the monthly amount on-time. States offer either a number (#) of day’s notice to pay the rent owed including any penalties added on. If the payment is not made within the time stated the tenant will usually have to vacate the premises while still owing the landlord the funds.
How to Evict a Tenant
To evict a tenant a landlord first needs to identify which term or condition of the rental agreement they are violating. If it is a non-payment issue, the landlord will need to complete a notice for the non-payment of rent, if it is a non-compliance issue, the landlord will need to download the standard eviction notice for their respective State.
Step 1 – Download and complete the eviction notice that best serves the landlord’s situation.
- Non-Payment of Rent
Step 2 – After completing, the landlord will now need to send the lessee notice. This is recommended to be completed using the mail with a Certified Letter although some States allow for this to be completed by slipping it under the door of the premises or another legal route.
Step 3 – If the notice is a curable type the tenant has the time span to repair the issue such as: repayment of rent, damage on the premises, sound violations, etc. If the tenant does not fix the issue then they will be required to leave the property or face an unlawful detainer.
If the type of notice is incurable then the tenant must leave the property and has no option other than to vacate the premises.
Step 4 – If the tenant does not leave the property or fix the issue stated in the eviction notice then the landlord will have to file a Complaint and Summons with the court in the jurisdiction of the property. There is usually a filing fee and it may be submitted either by the landlord or their attorney.
Step 5 – After it has been filed the landlord must give notice to the tenant that a legal case has been filed against them. The notice is usually known as “serving” the defendant through the State process. This is usually completed by using the Sheriff’s office or sending through Certified Mail (Return Receipt).
Step 6 – The landlord will have to wait until the tenant (defendant) filed an Answer. This is a statement that gives their side of the eviction before going to court. After the Answer has been filed a court date may be given. The date will be sent to both parties through Certified Mail and both will be expected to appear.
The Judge will usually make a ruling on the court hearing date and the tenant will either be instructed to leave the premises (Writ of Possession) by a certain date or have the right to cure their leasing arrangement.