Landlord and tenant laws provide remedies for landlords when removing a tenant from a property. The landlord may not use methods such as changing the locks on the property or turning off services to force a tenant from a rental unit. Eviction laws are in place to protect the tenant and the landlord involved in a dispute over a rental property.
Failure to Pay Rent
Landlords may begin the eviction process when a tenant fails to pay rent. In some states, the landlord is required to provide the tenant with notice to pay the amount owed or vacate the property. The amount of notice varies from state to state, but it is usually between three and five days. Property owners cannot file with the court to evict the tenant until the terms of the notice have passed.
Violations of Lease
Property owners may serve a notice on a tenant when there is a violation of the lease agreement. For example, if the tenant brings a pet into the unit when the lease states pets are not allowed, the landlord may serve a notice to the tenant to remove the pet or vacate the property. The length of the notice varies from state to state.
Unconditional Notice to Quit
An unconditional notice to quit requires the tenant to vacate the property without any possibility of remedying the situation. This may be used for tenants who repeatedly violate the lease agreement, fail to pay rent or are engaged in illegal activity on the property.
A holdover occurs when the terms of a lease end, but the tenant remains on the property. Acceptance of rent after the lease expires begins a tenancy at will in some states. Landlords must serve a notice equal to the rental period. For example, if a tenant pays rent monthly, the landlord must provide a 30-day notice to vacate the property; tenants who pay weekly receive a seven-day notice.
The property owner must wait until the notice expires before filing a legal eviction in court. For example, the landlord may file an eviction with the courts if a tenant fails to vacate or pay back rent after the three- or five-day notice expires. The court provides an opportunity for the property owner and the tenant to state their cases in court. A judge will determine possession of the property once the landlord files a legal eviction in court.