The legal eviction process can be stressful for tenants and landlords alike. On the one hand, tenants are in a dire financial situation that puts them at risk of losing their home. From a landlord perspective, this can be an incredibly difficult decision to make. Unfortunately, there may be no other option if a tenant is unable to pay their dues. If you’re just beginning to understand the legal eviction process and what that means for you, this short guide should provide you with the essential answers you need.
What is a Legal Eviction Process?
An Eviction Defined
Although few people realize this, an eviction is actually a lawsuit filed by a landlord against a tenant. Therefore, filing a legal motion doesn’t automatically mean the tenant will be evicted from the property. The legal process can become costly, so property owners should first consider whether or not there is justification for an eviction. Through the eviction process, landlords must provide evidence that shows the tenant’s behavior substantiates the lawsuit. As a landlord, if you fail to follow state eviction laws and guidelines, the court could rule in the tenant’s favor (you cannot, for instance, bully your tenants, move their possessions or change their locks).
To evict a tenant, a landlord must provide a termination notice in writing. It should contain specifics regarding the tenant’s breach of the rental agreement. If the tenant does not take action after notice has been given, a landlord can move forward with filing a legal eviction.
Termination for Cause
- Pay Rent or Quit. A landlord would provide this termination notice if the tenant in question has not been making payments. The notice may state how much is owed, late fees that have been incurred and a final deadline. If the tenant does not take action and meet their obligations within a certain timeframe (usually a few days to a week), a landlord can file a legal eviction.
- Cure or Quit Notices. In this scenario, a tenant may be paying on time, but they’ve violated their rental agreement in some other way. This could include violent behavior towards other tenants, smoking, pet ownership, or other prohibited activities. While it depends on your state’s laws, typically a deadline of 30 days is offered to the tenant. If they do not “cure” or cease their behavior over that span of time, a landlord can move forward with eviction.
- Unconditional Quit Notices. These types of notices don’t give a tenant the chance to remedy their situation. Some landlords may pursue this option as a result of repeated offenses or illegal activities, but it is not allowed in all states.
Termination Without Cause
For termination without cause, meaning a tenant hasn’t committed any violation, landlords may utilize a 30 to 90-day notice to evict a tenant. In some states, however, a rental agreement violation must take place before an eviction can occur.
What Happens Next
After giving a tenant notice and filing an eviction, the court will provide a trial date. If the court rules in favor of the landlord, a Writ of Possession will be issued. From that point on, the rental unit will belong to the landlord once more. A tenant will then have to move off the property by a specific deadline. If they don’t comply, they will be forced to leave by local law enforcement deputies.
COVID-19 is also something to consider. Currently, some states across the U.S. may be issuing eviction moratoriums to protect tenants during this difficult time. Contact your state and local governments to find out more information.
How All County Denver Metro Can Help
All County Denver Metro Property Management is here to help property owners have confidence in the quality of their tenants and the security of their property through knowledgeable and trustworthy property management services. From managing tenant relationships to pricing rent to lease enforcement, we look forward to working with you to see how your investment can be a long-term, stress-free asset. For a complimentary quote, call us today at (720) 575-6100.