Laws for each state vary when it comes to rental evictions, but as a rule, you generally have two ways to lawfully evict a tenant from your rental property: legal eviction or constructive eviction.
In Legal eviction situations, also known as Actual eviction, the landlord or property manager begins legal proceedings based one or more of the following occurances:
- the tenant stops paying rent or damages the rental property
- the tenant breaks the law or local ordinance
- the tenant breaks the lease or uses the rental property for purposes not covered in the lease
- the landlord is threatened by the tenant
- the lease term ends
Constructive rental eviction occurs when the landlord forces the tenant to leave the rental property by making it uninhabitable or materially interferes with the tenant's ability to use the property as outlined in the lease. The tenant may legally terminate the lease in cases of constructive eviction without any further requirements.
Unlawful rental evictions
Property managers and landlords can not:
- evict a tenant based on age, sex, race, religion, or other discriminatory factors
- evict a tenant by shutting off utilities, removing a tenant's belongings, or changing the locks on the rental property
- evict a tenant because the tenant complains against the landlord or engages in (legal) activities that the landlord does not agree with
Proper steps to perform a lawful rental eviction
- A written eviction notice must be given to the tenant. Statutes vary from state to state on the number of days notice given, and can depend on the reason the tenant is being evicted. Check your state landlord tenant laws. If the tenant has moved out by the deadline given, the process ends.
- If the tenant has not vacated the property by the time the deadline has passed, the landlord files an eviction lawsuit. If the tenant has damaged the rental property or owes rent, the property manager can also sue for damages.
- The court will send a summons to the tenant to appear in court to answer the lawsuit.
- If the court finds the tenant at fault, it will issue its own eviction notice. If the tenant ignores the court's eviction notice, law enforcement will remove the tenant from the rental property.
Property Management Software and Rental Evictions
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