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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 involves many different abilities, one of which is understanding when and how to evict a tenant. Overall, knowing when and why to evict a tenant gives you the power to be a responsible and lawful landlord, preserve tenant rights, and uphold a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship.

Understanding Just Cause

All property owners should be aware that eviction is a legal procedure that necessitates a court order in order to kick a renter from your property. You can abide by local, state, and federal laws that control landlord-tenant interactions by being aware of the legitimate reasons for eviction. Without sufficient legal justification, evicting a renter may result in penalties like fines or legal action.

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. If your renter fails to pay their rent on time, you can issue them formal notice that they have a set number of days to pay or vacate the property, as required by state law. If the tenant fails to comply, you may file for eviction. Just make sure you respect the conditions of your lease as well as any state and municipal laws that may apply.

Another common reason for eviction is property damage. If your renter has caused substantial property damage that exceeds normal wear and tear, you can serve them with a written notice directing them to repair the damage or vacate the premises. You may file for eviction if the renter fails to comply.

Breach of other lease terms is another basis for evicting a renter. If your tenant has a pet and your lease bans them from having one, you can give them legal notice to remove the pet or leave the property. You may file for eviction if the renter fails to comply. All other lease terms are the same.

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 measures 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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