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How to Evict a Tenant

Sonia Nair Jan 27, 2019
Having tenants may not be a pleasant experience for all. This write-up provides a brief overview about evicting a tenant.
Evicting a tenant can sometimes become one of the worst nightmares. While some tenants may fail to pay rent, some others may cause nuisance to the landlord or other tenants. In some cases, the tenant may cause damage to the property or breaches the lease clause.
Whatever the reason is, the landlord is not supposed to forcefully evict the tenant all of a sudden. According to the law of the region, there are some formalities, which have to be followed, in order to evict a tenant.
Hiring a lawyer will be beneficial for those landlords with many housing units. Others too can approach a lawyer for this purpose. A basic idea about eviction laws of the place, may also prove beneficial.

Eviction of Tenants

Eviction can be defined as the removal of a tenant, by the landlord, from a rented property. In order to evict a tenant, the landlord has to follow the state laws. The process of eviction can be briefly described as follows.
The eviction process is initiated by the landlord, who serves a notice to the tenant, giving him a legally defined time period for sorting out the issue. The notice is mandatory, and only if the tenant fails to address the problem within the stipulated period, that the landlord can initiate eviction proceedings.
It is not necessary for the landlord to draft the notice, as printed forms are available. You must choose the relevant form, because the type of notice to be served, may not be the same in all cases. If you are not sure about the laws, consult a lawyer.
The next step involves the court, as the landlord files a complaint before the concerned court. The court will fix a date for both parties to appear before it, for a hearing. Both parties will receive court summons to that effect.
If the landlord fails to appear before the court, the court will dismiss the case. If the tenant fails to do so, the judgment will be in favor of the landlord, who can then initiate the next step to remove the tenant from the rented property.
If the tenant comes to the court and defends his case, the process may become lengthy and time-consuming. Otherwise, wait till the tenant receives a notice from a law enforcement officer to vacate the rented property in dispute.
How long does it take to evict a tenant? There is no fixed period for an eviction process, as it depends on the state laws to some extent. The notice period may change from one region to another, and nobody can predict the time required for a legal proceeding. It may take longer, if the tenant puts up a defense.

Common Causes for Eviction

Most eviction procedures are triggered by causes, like nonpayment of rent, breach of a lease clause, or nuisance to landlord and other tenants. Even though the eviction proceedings are almost similar in all cases; there can be some specific clauses, which can cause trouble to the landlord in some particular cases.
In case of a nonpaying tenant, the landlord must not accept any partial payment, during the eviction process, as it may negatively affect his case. In case of commercial tenants, it would be better to hire a lawyer, who is an expert in the Commercial Tenancies Act. The duties and obligations of commercial landlords and tenants are determined by this act.
If the reason is some health or safety concern caused by the tenant to the landlord, other tenants, or premises; there is a special clause that can be applied for a speedy solution. According to this clause, the landlord has to serve a notice stating the reason and giving a fixed period of time for the errant tenant to remedy the problem or move out.
In case the tenant fails to remedy the problem within the stipulated time, the landlord can initiate eviction proceedings at the earliest and get a speedy redress. The landlord may also proceed with the eviction proceedings, even if the tenant has remedied the problem.
If the tenant has filed a petition for bankruptcy, the court may stay the eviction proceedings. In such cases, the landlord has to file a petition for lifting that stay, in the bankruptcy court. In order to evict a tenant without a lease agreement, the procedure for eviction will be the same, as in other cases.
If you are a landlord, you must have some knowledge about the relevant laws regarding tenancy and eviction. Seeking the advice or services of a lawyer can make things better for you.