A landlord can't simply show up and tell a tenant that he's being evicted. Instead the landlord gives a tenant an eviction notice, known as a notice to quit or a termination notice. This eviction notice tells the tenant exactly why he's being evicted, that the landlord is going to file an eviction in court if the tenant doesn't leave, and anything that the tenant could do to fix the problem. After the notice period is up, the landlord can go to court for the eviction filing.
The landlord doesn't need to immediately file the eviction in court once the 30-day notice period has expired, but that's usually what happens. A process server, sheriff or constable serves the tenant with the hearing summons to let her know when she need to attend court. The summons also has a copy of the eviction complaint, so she knows exactly what eviction reason the landlord is pursuing.
The hearing is typically scheduled within 30 days of the initial complaint filing. If the tenant moves out before the hearing occurs, he can get the eviction dismissed due to not living in the home. He can bring in evidence and witnesses if he feels that the landlord is evicting him for an illegal reason, such as discrimination. If this is a nonpayment eviction, the landlord almost always wins, unless the tenant is in a state that allows rent abatement due to repairs or harassment.
After the Hearing
If the court rules against the tenant, it specifies the number of days the tenant has to move out of the home. She can appeal the decision or ask the court for more time to move. The court typically doesn't allow for additional time except under exceptional circumstances.
If the tenant doesn't leave the home within the time allotted by the court, the landlord can file for the physical eviction order. This order permits the constable or sheriff to come to the home and remove the tenant and his possessions.