» Eviction Notice (Notice to Quit) Forms | Process and Laws

Eviction Notice (Notice to Quit) Forms | Process and Laws

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An eviction notice is a letter sent by a property owner, commonly known as the “landlord” or “lessor”, to the tenant of their property for a violation of the leased premise. The document either gives the right of the tenant to “cure” the issue (within a given time-span) or an “incurable” notice that states the landlord wants the tenant to be out of the space by a specific date. Most notices are served due to a tenant’s failure to pay rent on-time or not paying rent in full on the due-date.

by State

Table of Contents

by Type

($) Non-Payment of Rent – The most common reason for eviction. This form may be given when the tenant has failed to pay rent.

Illegal Activity – Terminates the lease between the landlord and tenant immediately.

Month-to-Month Eviction/Termination – May be used by a tenant or landlord to cancel a tenancy at will between the parties. The document must follow the required number (#) of days of notice in order to cancel stated either in the lease or found in the State Statutes.

Non-Compliance (Lease Violation) – Should be given to the tenant for any lease infraction other than the non-payment of rent.

by Number of Days

What is an Eviction?

An Eviction is the process of legally removing a tenant from a residential property. Failure to pay rent or rent on time, violating terms within a rental agreement, overstaying a lease (tenant at sufferance), and illegal activity are common ways an eviction can be triggered by a landlord. Landlords need to follow their State’s eviction procedure laws and can not physically remove a tenant from their property.

How to Evict a Tenant (Process)

As a landlord, do not take matters into your own hands by changing locks, physically removing the tenant yourself or by someone on your behalf, harassing, shutting off utilities or any other method of removal except by going through the court system. Each State has its own eviction laws, while many States use the  Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut). Do not try to evict a tenant without a valid reason (failure to pay rent, violating lease terms, etc. are valid reasons to evict a tenant).

Step 1 – Try to Solve the Violation

After a period of time dealing with a tenant, a landlord typically gets a good feel for their tenant. If a tenant goes 6 months into a 1-year lease without ever being late on a rent payment and has never caused a nuisance – this would be regarded as a good tenant worth solving problems with. On the other hand, a tenant that pays rent past-due every month while throwing parties every weekend disturbing your other tenants – a “problem child” tenant you would highly consider evicting. No matter the case, if the tenant simply does not have the money to pay rent, as a landlord from a business standpoint, you must evict the tenant. If a resolution can’t be found, the goal is to make the tenant leave on their own accord without having to go to court.

Step 2 – Send Eviction Notice to Tenant

In order to officially start the eviction process, you need to deliver an eviction notice (also known as a “notice to quit”) to your tenant. Deliver the notice by posting it to the tenant’s door while also sending it by Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested via USPS. As the landlord, you need to send the correct type of eviction notice (30 day eviction notice is the most common) but you need to be 100% certain and check with your State. Once the tenant receives the eviction notice, they will have the opportunity to cure the violation within the allotted time frame – For example: A landlord in the State of California by law can send a 3-day notice to quit which allows the tenant to cure the violation within 3 days upon receiving the notice. The notice period is calculated from the day on which the notice is delivered.

Step 3 – File Eviction Papers with the Court

If the tenant has not cured the violation within the time frame set forth in the notice to quit, you can now go to your local county courthouse by bringing a copy of the Return Receipt and filing for the eviction. Here is a list of information that you will need to bring with you to the courthouse in order to successfully file for your eviction against the tenant:

  • The address and a description, if any, of the property you are seeking to possess;
  • A description of the reason for the eviction;
  • A detailed account as to how and when the notice to vacate was delivered;
  • An accounting of all unpaid rent and dues at the time of filing;
  • If attorney fees are being sought, include a statement with the filing;

Once filed, the court will serve a summons which orders the tenant to show up to court on a specified date.

Step 4 – Go to Court to Prove Your Case Against Tenant

Chances are, if the tenant doesn’t have enough money to pay rent, they won’t be able to afford an attorney and due to evictions being a civil matter, they won’t be able to obtain a public defender – therefore, the tenant will be defending themselves in court and that makes it a pretty easy case for you, the landlord. You should come to court prepared with all the documentation, including but not limited to: the original signed lease agreement, records of payments, communication records, written notices, and the notice to quit.

Step 5 – Moving the Tenant Out!

If you win the case, the court will allow the tenant a small amount of time in order to pack up and leave, typically 1 weeks time. In the event that the tenant does not move out at the end of their allotted timeframe, you may contact your local sheriff’s department and the sheriff will escort the tenant out of your property along with their possessions.

Step 6 – Collecting Past-Due Rent and Court Fees

The prevailing party is typically entitled to recover all costs of court. Most of the time, the security deposit can cover most of the loses incurred by the landlord. If the security deposit isn’t enough, collecting is handled by going through a small claims court. Although, it might take a while for you to collect your money. Depending on how much is owed to you, you may want to consider whether collecting is worth your time.