A subletter, or subtenant, is a tenant who has an oral or written rental agreement with a tenant. The tenant acts as a landlord to the subtenant but is still subject to his landlord's lease. A tenant cannot sublet without permission from the landlord, either from the lease agreement or from the landlord directly. A tenant can evict a subtenant under a few specific circumstances and must go through the legal process of eviction as described by the state's Landlord and Tenant Act.
Prepare a written notice to quit the property. The notice needs to include the eviction reason, the date to quit the property and a way to fix the situation if there is one. Each state has a list of legal eviction reasons that generally boil down to nonpayment of rent, lease violations and ending month-to-month leases or at the end of longer lease terms.
Provide the required time for the subletter to move. The period of time depends on the state and situation. Nonpayment of rent notices are typically the shortest period of time, while ending a month-to-month lease takes 30 or 60 days notice. A verbal agreement, or no lease agreement, is considered a month-to-month lease.
Serve the subletter with the written notice. A written notice is given before the eviction process starts, so it is not filed in court. Most states require you to attempt a hand delivery of the written notice. If that fails, you must post the notice on the property then follow up with a copy sent certified mail. Keep a copy of the notice for the court.
File an eviction complaint and summons form at the civil court in your jurisdiction, if the subletter doesn't move out after the notice time period. The court clerk provides the forms; some courts provide them online. The state requirements vary a bit, but generally you fill out an eviction complaint, a summons form and arrange for a process server. The court clerk provides the court date and enters that on the summons form. Arrange for a process server, constable or friend over 18 to serve the tenant with the summons.
Attend the court hearing with all documentation needed to prove your case. A copy of the written notice, unpaid rent invoices and witnesses help your case. Many times a subletter won't show up in court, in which case you receive a ruling in your favor. The judge may file a Writ of Restitution, Writ of Execution or Order of Eviction immediately or place a stay on the eviction order to give the subletter time to move out. It depends on the court and the state's appeal period.
Meet the constable or sheriff on the day the eviction order is executed. The law enforcement officer removes the subletter from the home, prepares property for storage and observes you switching the locks.
- You cannot harass or threaten the subletter into leaving. A landlord is not permitted to force the tenant out of the house himself, whether he is a subtenant or not. The legal order of eviction must be issued and a sheriff or constable has to do the eviction.
- final judgment image by Keith Frith from Fotolia.com