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An eviction notice, or Notice of Eviction, is a formal written statement from a landlord to a tenant that informs the tenant of one of two things:
An eviction notice is used by landlords and property management companies for rental real estate purposes. It is a legal document written to conform to state law that notifies a tenant that they must vacate the premises by a certain date. This document is the first step in evicting a tenant who may be violating the rules of their rental agreement, or whose lease has expired and they refuse to vacate the premises. Whether you are evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent, drug trafficking or other illegal activity, or failure to abide by other terms of the lease, you cannot legally evict them without first delivering an official eviction notice. Other forms of eviction, such as "constructive" eviction, are not legal. Constructive eviction involves changing the locks, turning off the utilities, or physical eviction by removing the tenant's belongings.
Most states require an eviction notice to be given at least 30 days before the tenant must leave the property. Other state-specific real estate laws may exist that govern the eviction process. If someone must be evicted, it is best to work with a knowledgeable lawyer to review your state and local laws because even cities within a state may differ on the process of eviction. Not only can a landlord-tenant lawyer in your area advise you on your state and local laws, they can also review your eviction notice to ensure it has all the necessary elements.
An eviction notice must inform the tenant which provisions of the lease were violated and the amount of time they have to rectify the problem. The notice period depends on the laws of your state and the reason why the eviction is occurring. For example, non-payment of rent may require a notice of 3 days, 5 days, or even between 30 and 60 days.
There are some rare instances that you may be legally allowed to evict someone immediately. This is known as an Eviction Without Consideration, however, you must file a particular request for this type of eviction.
Finally, a Notice of Eviction informs the tenant that both parties (the landlord and the tenant) may need to go to court to complete or resolve the eviction process.
Strictly speaking, the eviction notice itself is not legally enforceable. For it to be used in an eviction court case, there must be a way to verify that the tenant read and understood the eviction notice. For this reason, the eviction notice should contain a statement like the following, followed by a space for the tenant’s printed name, date, and signature:
I have read and understood the information contained in this eviction notice to the best of my ability.
Once the eviction notice is legally served following the proper procedures for your state (not all states allow you as the landlord or property manager to affect proper and legal service) this does not mean you can now evict the tenant. An eviction notice includes the reason why the tenant is being evicted and the time period they have to correct the deficiency. For example, if someone neglected to pay their rent, the notice would explain that rent was not received and when rent must be paid by (including any listed late fee) to prevent the eviction from proceeding in court. If the tenant refuses to comply with or acknowledge the terms of the notice, you have the right to take them to court. However, keep in mind that under no circumstances may you attempt to physically remove the tenant. That is the job of an authorized officer of the court.
An eviction notice accomplishes two things:
*As mentioned above, an eviction notice only begins the eviction process. The procedures and timing to complete an eviction vary by state. You can find much of the state-specific information on eviction completion here.
Be sure to take a look at our sample eviction notice form, but remember that all eviction notices should include the basics of who, what, where, when, and why. It must also be in compliance with state and, possibly, city laws.
An eviction notice is always the first step in legally terminating a tenant. If you are a landlord, you are not allowed to kick out tenants without first delivering an official eviction notice. The legal details of an eviction notice vary from state to state (and sometimes even from city to city within a state); however, there are a few legal considerations every landlord should take into account.
When you issue an eviction notice, you must provide the tenant with a time by which they need to vacate the premises or cure the defect that caused the issuance of the notice. Normally, this ranges between 3 days and 60 days, depending on the reason for the eviction. You should consult your state law for this information or talk with a landlord-tenant lawyer in the state where the property is located.
To ensure that the tenant could in no way argue that they were unaware of the impending eviction, be sure to include a clause and a signature line mentioned above. Also, follow state law for proper and effective service. You may not be legally allowed to serve the tenant. You may need to pay for a private process server, or you can also call the county sheriff’s office to find out if they will affect service on your behalf. Another very effective way to serve an official notice is to serve the eviction letter via certified mail with a return receipt. This provides you with signed proof that the tenant received the notice. After the receipt, you may place the official notice of eviction on a conspicuous place, such as the front door or garage (however, it is imperative that you check with your local laws to see if this method is permissible in your area).
The eviction process is the legal process in the state where the property is located that allows a landlord or property management company to force the tenant to vacate the property. The path from a signed lease agreement to an eviction notice varies and consists of various disputes between landlord and tenant.
After an eviction notice is issued and if the tenant doesn’t meet the requests in it, the eviction process proceeds as follows:
Absolutely not. In fact, tenants have resources in many states that allow them to determine if they are being lawfully evicted. They have legal remedies they may pursue if they are the victim of an illegal eviction.
Here are some common forms of unlawful evictions:
This is a guide designed to provide all of the requisite information to landlords AND tenants regarding eviction notices. What follows is a detailed overview that explains what an eviction notice is, what purpose it serves, the different types of eviction, the types of eviction, laws related to the eviction process, as well as specific information for landlords AND tenants issuing or facing eviction notices. Our goal is that any person--tenant or landlord--dealing with an eviction notice (i.e. either issuing or receiving one) can turn to this guide to both educate themselves about the laws pertaining to eviction and find resources to help them navigate the process. [editorial intro]
In this section, we’re going to look at the most common reasons why evictions occur.
Pay Rent or Quit/Vacate: Sometimes referred to as a Notice to Vacate or Notice to Quit. This is used when a tenant doesn’t pay their rent. The "pay or vacate" eviction notice gives the tenant a set amount of time* to pay their outstanding rent or vacate the property.
Here are the five most common reasons a tenant receives an eviction notice:
First, please understand that this is in no way legal advice. This guide is meant solely as an educational resource. For legal advice related to your eviction, contact the housing agency or a landlord-tenant lawyer in your state. While a notice of eviction only begins the eviction process, it is important not to ignore it. Remember, your landlord must secure a court order in order to actually evict you. If you receive a notice of eviction you should proceed as follows:
1. Speak with your landlord ASAP: If a dispute between your landlord and yourself is the cause of the eviction, perhaps there is a way to mediate the problem and convince your landlord to allow you to stay.
Remember, resolving the situation without the assistance of lawyers and courts is the cheapest option available to you and your landlord; this avoids court costs as well as stressful eviction proceedings.
2. Hire an attorney. If you cannot reach a resolution with your landlord, hire a lawyer. It is important you have a legal expert to guide you through the eviction process. This will help you protect your legal rights and exercise the legal options that you may have available.
3. Consult the appropriate government agencies. Many state and local governments offer free services and resources for tenants facing evictions. For example, the Legal Services Corporation is “an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans.” LSC funds over 100 legal aid non-profits in every state, Washington DC, and US territory. In early 2018, New York City became the first city to guarantee access to legal counsel for all low-income residents facing eviction. Some places to look for such resources are (the provided links are for the city of Los Angeles and the state of California):
4. Research nonprofits. There are many nonprofit organizations that offer services for tenants facing eviction. Depending on your situation, you may even qualify for free or reduced fees. Some places to find such organizations include:
5. Represent yourself in court. If you do so, be sure to collect all documents, photos, and information that may help explain or support your case to the judge. You must prepare before you appear in court. You should also practice giving a short and clear explanation of your side of the story. Judges typically have large caseloads and are looking to move through cases as fast as they can while providing both sides with their opportunity to speak. Being prepared and able to clearly and concisely explain your side of the story gives you the best chance at winning your case. Be sure to also remember to:
Unfortunately, yes. Evictions may show up on your credit report and remain for a period of seven years. Additionally, evictions may also appear on background checks, which can make it harder for you to find a place to lease in the future.
To find a tenant association or similar organization in your area, perform an Internet search with your state (or city and state) along with the words “tenant association.” Below you’ll find more information and a couple of links to get you started.
You can find housing information, including what you need to know as a tenant, in each state by visiting HUD’s website and choosing your state: https://www.hud.gov/states
First, eviction notices are legally required. Additionally, the eviction process begins with a Notice of Eviction. It is designed to protect the legal rights of both landlord and tenant.
This is discussed in the text above. However, your eviction notice should conform with the state, and possibly city laws where the property is located.
Ideally, an eviction notice should be delivered by the landlord or someone authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf. However, some states do not allow the landlord to serve the notice. They must use a professional. Preferably, the notice is handed directly to the tenant; however, if they do not answer the door, it should be placed in a highly visible place. The traditional spot is on the front door, though be sure you use good thumbtacks or adhesive!
You can get in serious legal trouble if you don’t send the notice to your tenant. Without an eviction notice, you cannot legally begin the process of removing a tenant from your property. Pursuing an eviction without a proper notice is illegal. It will likely put you, the landlord, on the hook for thousands of extra dollars in eviction-related costs, which include:
It is imperative, that you always follow the law when it comes to evictions. A notice of eviction is the first, and, in many ways, the most important step in this process. Be sure that you not only issue an eviction notice, but you do so properly. Even the smallest technical error on a landlord’s part can provide a judge with legal grounds to dismiss the eviction complaint and force the landlord to restart the entire process.
Ensuring that you have the proper documentation related to the reason you’re issuing the eviction notice is the best way to avoid costly penalties. Make sure that you have the following information to support your position in court:
Properly documenting your relationship and interactions with your tenants will ensure that you do not put yourself in legal jeopardy should you end up in a court dispute with your tenant.
To learn more about apartment associations for landlords, you can look for both national and state-specific resources. For state-specific resources, perform an Internet search with your state along with the phrases “apartment association” or “landlord association.” Here are some links to help you get started:
As a landlord, it’s imperative that you know state and federal laws related to rental property. The key is to understand the law for the state in which the property is located. You can find links to appropriate housing law by visiting the HUD website and choosing the state: https://www.hud.gov/states
Whether you are facing an eviction notice or considering issuing one, we encourage you to use this guide throughout the process. It’s designed to inform BOTH tenants and landlords about the legal procedures that guide the eviction process in order to ensure that both parties are able to pursue any and all options to either avoid or execute an eviction in a manner that not only (and most importantly) lawful, but also respectful and in a manner that limits financial costs.
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