The LawGives Eviction Guide details the 6 grounds for eviction of a tenant and an overview of the eviction process (Notice, Lawsuit, Removal).

What is eviction?

Eviction is when a tenant of a rental property is removed by the landlord. Some jurisdictions also allow eviction of persons from property when they have defaulted on their mortgage and the property is being foreclosed.

6 Reasons a Tenant Can Be Evicted

The Eviction Process - 1. NOTICE


Prior to filing a lawsuit for eviction, the landlord must provide written notice to the tenant to leave the premises.

A landlord can evict a tenant “without cause” (typically meaning the lease is about to end) or “for cause” (meaning that the tenant has breached the lease, failed to pay rent, or allowed illegal activity to take place on the property). If notice is given without cause, the tenant is given a lengthy period of 30 days to vacate the premises. Notice given for cause can require the tenant to vacate the premises in as little as 3 days.

**Please note that these are rough time estimates. All jurisdictions have individual laws which give specific time periods for vacating a premises with and without cause.**

The notice may either be conditional (meaning the tenant may remain on the premises if certain actions are taken prior to a specified date) or unconditional (meaning the tenant cannot do anything to avoid the eviction and must leave the premises by a specified date).

The Eviction Process - 2. LAWSUIT


If the tenant does not vacate the premises after being given notice, the landlord can file a lawsuit to evict the tenant and regain possession of the property. What the tenant is then required to do changes based on the jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions require the tenant to submit a written response by a certain date and then later appear in court, other jurisdictions only require the tenant to appear in court at a later date.

If the tenant does not file a written statement or appear in court, the landlord can request a “default judgement.” This means that the landlord automatically wins the lawsuit and gains possession of the property, an award of unpaid rent and utilities, and court costs.

If the landlord wins through a default judgement or wins the actual case, the tenant must generally vacate the premises within a week.

The Eviction Process - 3. REMOVAL


If the tenant does not vacate the property after losing the lawsuit, the landlord must take further legal action to evict the tenant.

The landlord must obtain a “writ of possession” from the court and then present it to the appropriate law enforcement officer. The officer will then post a notice on the property informing the tenant that they must vacate the property by a specific date. On that specific date, if necessary, the officer may physically remove the tenant from the property.

Any of the tenant’s possessions left on the property may be given to the tenant, put in storage for the tenant, placed outside of the property, seized and sold, or considered abandoned.

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