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How Do I Evict Tenants from a Rental Property?

How Do I Evict a Tenant?

An eviction notice is typically the first step, but it may not be the only one. Eviction can be more difficult than you might assume. There are certain reasons to evict a tenant, which include failure to pay and damage, and you can click that link to learn more about them. Still, while the process for eviction varies from state to state, it’s not impossible to evict a tenant from a rental property.


What Does an Eviction Notice Include?


An Eviction Notice generally includes the following:

  • The offense (the reason the landlord is serving the eviction notice)

  • A time period to remedy the offense (such as ten days from service)

  • The date the notice was served

  • The signature of the landlord


In some states, the eviction notice alone may be grounds for eviction. But laws vary state to state (and sometimes within states, often in areas with rent control). You may have to take your tenant to court even if no remedy is offered and your tenant may in fact get to live in the property until the case is decided. If the tenant’s eviction is upheld, it may be necessary to have he or she removed from the property by law enforcement.


What Happens After Serving the Eviction Notice?


Hopefully, the tenant will comply with the notice of their own volition. If that’s not the case you will have to file an unlawful detainer suit in local state courts.


What Can’t a Landlord Do?


Even if the tenant is months behind on rent, without a court order the landlord cannot:

  • Physically remove the tenant

  • Remove the tenant’s personal property

  • Lock the tenant out

  • Change the locks

  • Shut off utilities (such as water or gas)


Still, no matter what state you live in, if you want to evict a tenant from a rental property, your first step is putting it in writing. You do that with an eviction notice.


How Can I Forcibly Remove a Tenant?


Generally speaking, it’s illegal and very ill advised to remove the tenant yourself. The only way to forcibly remove a tenant is to have filed an unlawful detainer suit and receive a court order  demanding the tenant vacates. With this backing by the courts you can then turn to local law enforcement to remove the tenant.

How We Can Help allows you to easily create and customize your Eviction Notice and can help you throughout the eviction process. You may also find it helpful to use the Rocket Lawyer Eviction Process Worksheet, which supplies a checklist of items to review when preparing to evict tenants.