Eviction Rights

An eviction is the legal process that involves the removal of a tenant from rental property by the landlord. Each state has established eviction laws and procedures that both the tenant and the landlord are required to follow. At any time, the landlord has the right to stop the eviction process against the tenant.


A landlord does not have the right to physically remove the property of a tenant after he serves the tenant with an eviction notice, but he does have the right to take the tenant to court, where a judge will decide when and if the tenant has to move out of the property. The landlord has the right to collect normal rental payments from the tenant as long as the tenant is living in the rental property, even while going through an eviction suit.


There are several reasons a landlord may evict a tenant, including non-payment of rent, violation of leasing terms or the expiration of a lease. The time frame in which a landlord may serve the eviction notice varies by state. Generally, a landlord must give a tenant three to five days to pay the past-due rent and any late fees or five to 10 days to resolve a violation of the lease agreement before the eviction process begins.


Many tenants believe a landlord has to give a reason for evicting them, but in some states, a landlord has the right to serve a tenant eviction notice without giving a reason for the eviction unless the terms of the lease say otherwise. The time frame for this type of eviction is generally 30 or 60 days, but it can be less than 20 days or as long as 90 days. Time periods may vary if the tenant is a senior citizen or disabled, has lived in the rental property for a long period of time or is receiving federal housing assistance.


After the landlord has filed an eviction notice with the courts, the tenant must be notified. The eviction notice typically gives the tenant a certain amount of time to dispute the eviction, and if the tenant does not respond to the eviction, the landlord has the right to ask for a default judgment to be entered by the courts. The landlord must show proof that the eviction notice was served on the tenant to receive a default judgment.


Landlord and tenants have the right to work out an agreement on their own, without involving the courts or a judge. If the two parties want, to reach an agreement but are unable to on their own, they can consider mediation. A mediator has no power to impose a decision regarding the eviction but instead helps the parties find a mutually acceptable solution to the dispute.