There are few aspects of renting out property that are more frustrating and time-consuming than evicting a tenant. Tenant eviction can be a complicated legal process that may or may not work out in the favor of the landlord, even if the eviction is justified. However, there is an effective, but not foolproof, way of getting rid of a tenant without going to court.
Notice to Quit
If you want to get rid of a tenant for any reason other than retaliation or discrimination, you can serve him a 30- or 60-day Notice to Quit, or vacate, the property. This could be an effective way to get your renter to move out of your property, without actually going to court. Check the specific laws of your state regarding this process -- for example, in California, a landlord may serve a 30-day Notice to Quit if the tenant is in a month-to-month lease and has been living on the property for less than a year. Usually, if the tenant has lived on the premises for one year or more, the landlord must serve a 60-day Notice to Quit, depending on the state and jurisdiction.
In most cases, as the landlord, you don't have to give a specific reason why the tenant must move out. If you're looking for a quicker way to get rid of a tenant, you can serve a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit if your tenant is behind on the rent or a 3-Day Notice to Quit if your tenant has repeatedly violated the terms of the lease. These notices differ among the states and should include dates and details of the lease violations.
Delivered in writing, a Notice to Quit should state the date of the notice, the full name and address of the tenant or tenants and your signature. It should also specify whether the tenant has 30 or 60 days to vacate the premises. The notice should also state that failure to comply will result in eviction proceedings.
Many tenants are eager to avoid a legal eviction process -- after all, an eviction mars their rental record significantly and can make finding housing difficult in the future. Instead of forcing an eviction after being served a Notice to Quit, most tenants may move out to avoid future conflicts, saving you the time and aggravation of taking them to court.
Kate Savage is a writer and editor with more than eight years experience writing and editing professionally. She holds a master's degree in writing and editing as well as a bachelor's degree in English literature. Her writing has been featured on a number of websites, including eHow, GlobalPost, and SFGate.com. She lives in Portland, Ore.