The specifics of landlord tenant laws vary from state to state, but landlords must follow a legal process to remove tenants from a property. Landlords may not lock a tenant out of the property or turn off utilities to force a tenant out of the rental unit. The state landlord tenant act may require the landlord to give the tenant a chance to correct violations of the lease or pay rent.
Reasons for Eviction
Landlords may begin the eviction process for valid reasons such as non-payment of rent, violation of the lease agreement or committing a crime on the property. The landlord may not evict a tenant without good cause if parties have a valid lease agreement in place. Property owners may not evict a tenant as retaliation or for discriminatory reasons.
Most states require a landlord give tenants a 30- or 60-day notice before terminating the tenancy. Landlords may use a shorter notice when tenants fail to pay rent or violate the lease agreement. Property owners must deliver the notice to the tenant in person or by registered mail. When the tenant is not available, the property owner may post the notice to the property in a place the tenant will find it. In some states, the tenant has an opportunity to pay unpaid rent or correct a violation of the lease agreement.
Once the term of a notice has expired, the landlord can file with the court to determine possession of the property. Tenants have an opportunity to answer the court summons and state their case in court. The court will listen to both sides in an eviction proceeding to determine who will have possession of the property. Renters may also have an opportunity to appeal a decision made by the court.
Only after a court proceeding may a tenant be removed from a rental unit. The court may order a writ of restitution, which requires a sheriff to remove the tenant physically on a particular day. The state may require property owners to store the tenant’s belongings for a period after the eviction.