You've been maintaining your rental property for a long time now, and you've never had to deal with a tenant eviction. You're lucky! That said, you should always be prepared for the worst.
So when can a landlord evict a tenant anyway? What do you have to do before you even consider eviction, and when would you be in legal trouble for sending out an eviction notice?
Let's talk about it. Read on to learn all about eviction basics.
After a Warning (the "Or Quit" Notices)
No one wants to have to evict a tenant, right? Tenant eviction can be expensive and troublesome for all involved parties. It's in a landlord's best interest to send out "cure or quit" or "pay or quit" notices before an eviction (and it may be legally required depending on your situation).
With a "pay or quit" notice, the landlord sends the tenant a notice when they haven't paid their rent. They give a set amount of time (3-5 days) in which the tenant is able to pay and have things go back to normal, or the tenant can "quit" or leave.
With a "cure or quit" notice, the tenant has broken one of the terms of the lease. They may have a pet, they may have a guest that's stayed too long (though this is an uncommon reason), or they may have been disturbing other tenants.
The landlord gives them a set amount of time to remedy the problem or leave. Landlords should not evict tenants over minor infractions before sending this notice.
After an Unconditional Quit
Landlords can order tenants to leave without giving them an opportunity to remedy the problem. If the tenant chooses not to leave of their own volition, the landlord can send them an eviction notice.
This happens when the tenant has done something to seriously break the terms of the lease. They may have repeatedly missed rent payments, caused damage to the property, or done something illegal on the premises.
Check your local laws to see when it's appropriate to send out an unconditional quit notice to make sure that you're within your rights.
When Can't a Landlord Evict a Tenant?
Landlords don't have the ability to evict a tenant whenever they choose.
There needs to be some kind of notice first before the landlord files an eviction lawsuit, even if the tenant isn't being given the opportunity to remedy the problem. Tenants should always be able to leave on their own.
A landlord must terminate the tenancy before sending an eviction notice. Termination isn't the same thing as eviction.
Some landlords send out notices of termination under the guise that they're going to move into, renovate, or sell the rental unit. If this isn't actually the case, this is a wrongful termination or eviction.
The landlord can also not evict a tenant for their status as a protected class. Evicting a tenant for discrimination purposes is against fair housing laws.
When Can a Landlord Evict a Tenant? It Depends
Eviction laws are tricky. If you've been wondering, "when can a landlord evict a tenant?", it's best to talk to a lawyer or a qualified property management company. They can guide you and make sure that you're doing everything by the book.
At Inheritance Realty Group, we want to help property owners with their rental properties. Contact us to learn about our property management services today.