There are several reasons why a landlord may wish to evict a month-to-month tenant. Perhaps the tenant is violating the law, fails to pay rent or acts violently. Maybe the landlord wishes to sell the property and needs the tenant to leave in order to complete the sales transaction. Whatever the reason, landlords must exercise caution when evicting tenants so as not to violate the law or the privacy and safety of tenants.
Determine why the tenant should be evicted. Common reasons a landlord would evict a tenant include failure to pay rent, failure to keep agreements stated in the lease contract, damage to landlord’s property or refusal to leave the rented space after the lease finishes.
Collect evidence that the tenant has broken an agreement in the lease, damaged property or failed to pay rent. Include third-party witnesses to the lawbreaking. Any adult not involved in the dispute can be a witness. Add documented evidence to their written and signed testimony, such as photographs. While doing so, make sure to follow all laws and do not violate tenant privacy
Send a three-day notice to the tenant, stating the reason for eviction, the name of every tenant who signed the lease and the correct and complete address of the property that the tenants rented, including the county of residence and apartment number. If the reason for eviction was failure to pay rent, then include only the rent that the tenant has refused to pay, not any late fees or other charges you have added.
Contact the county sheriff’s office and ask for an officer to serve the tenant a 30-day notice of eviction. Take this step if the tenant has broken no common tenant laws but you still want to evict, and if the tenant has not rented that space for more than a year. If the tenant has rented that property over a year, have the county sheriff deliver a 60-day notice to the tenant. When writing the details of the notice, leave out the purpose of eviction. State only that the lease agreement allows the landlord to evict the tenant in 60 days time after the issue of a notice.
Other than these general guidelines, check with the city and county clerks for literature and advice on local landlord-tenant laws, watching for special legal procedures that need to be taken in an eviction process.
Do nothing that the tenant can claim as harassment in court. Harassing a tenant includes changing locks to the leased space, shutting off utilities in that space, moving or tampering with the tenant’s property in the space (including towing a vehicle in a rented garage) or threatening the tenant with violence or legal actions that you do not intend to take against the tenant.
Do not accept any rent payments other than the ones owed for months up to the current one. If a tenant pays for another month and the landlord accepts the money, the judge will see this exchange as an agreement that the tenant should use the property for another month.
- 50's apartment #1 image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com