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Tenant Eviction: The Do’s and Don’ts

Eviction notice on door of house with brass door knob. Fictitious address, ID, signature and 555 phone number for fictional usage.Being a successful landlord demands a wide range of abilities, one of which is knowing when and how to evict a renter. Overall, knowing when and how to evict a tenant allows you to be a responsible and lawful landlord while also safeguarding tenant rights and keeping a happy landlord-tenant relationship.

Understanding Just Cause

One of the first things all property owners should know is that eviction is a legal process that needs a court order to remove the tenant from your property. Understanding the legal grounds for eviction allows you to comply with local, state, and federal regulations that govern landlord-tenant relationships. If you try to kick out a renter without good legal reasons, you could get fined or sued.

To evict a tenant, you must have what is known as “just cause.” Just cause eviction statutes require that you have a legal justification to evict the tenant, such as nonpayment of rent, property damage, or violation of the lease terms. You cannot evict a tenant unless you have just cause.

Reasons You Can Evict

Nonpayment of rent is one of the most prevalent reasons landlords evict tenants. You can formally notify your tenant that they have a certain amount of days to pay their rent or leave the rental property if they don’t do so on time, as required by state law, if they don’t pay their rent on time. If the tenant disobeys, you may file for eviction. Just be careful to abide by any applicable state and local regulations as well as the terms of your lease.

Theft of property is another frequent justification for eviction. You can give your tenant a formal notice forcing them to repair the damage or vacate the property if they have seriously damaged the property beyond normal wear and tear. In the event that the tenant disobeys, you may file for eviction.

Other lease violations are another justification for evicting a renter. You can give your tenant official notice to remove the pet or vacate the property if your lease forbids pets and they have one. If the tenant disobeys, you may file for eviction. All other Lease terms shall be of like effect.

Reasons You Cannot Evict

Even if a renter has done something that would seem to warrant eviction, there are a few more reasons why you can’t evict. For example, you cannot remove a tenant because they have requested that you make repairs to the property or have complained about the rental unit’s circumstances. Furthermore, you cannot evict a tenant because of their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial situation, or disability. These protected classifications cannot lawfully be used as the reason for an eviction, and attempting to do so may result in a discrimination lawsuit.

Carrying Out an Eviction

If you have to kick out a roommate, there are a few steps you must take. First, you have to give the renter a written notice that tells them why they are being kicked out and when they have to leave. The next step is to file a case with the court to get rid of the tenant and have it served on them. If the renter doesn’t show up to court, you may be able to get what’s called a “default judgment” in your favor. Lastly, if the renter still won’t leave, you might be able to have the authorities in your area take them away.

Even though it’s never easy, sometimes you have to kick out a roommate. By knowing why you can remove a renter and when you can’t, as well as the steps in the eviction process, you’ll reduce your legal risks and create a fair and polite living situation for everyone.


If you think you might be kicked out of your home, you might want to talk to an expert in property management for help. Talk to a local rental property expert at your local Real Property Management office today.

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