The Landlord's Guide To Eviction: A Legal Overview

Property Management Blog

Dealing with eviction is one of the most complex and complicated facet of being a landlord. A landlord cannot initiate the legal process of eviction without legally ending the rental agreement and tenancy process. First, the landlord must dispatch a written notice informing the tenant of the eviction. These termination requirements vary, depending on state-mandated regulations on the termination process.

Suppose you’re dealing with a problematic tenant who is unable to make timely rent payments, or has kept a pet without your approval. In case the tenant is unable to take responsibility for the rent, or find a new home to relocate their pet, the landlord reserves the right to begin an eviction lawsuit.

Eviction lawsuits, also known as unlawful retainer (UD) complaints, are filed on the basis of the detailed state-mandated legal requirements. There are various types of termination clauses and notices that landlords can serve their tenants with, depending on the issue and complaints. In most cases, the eviction papers are compiled and delivered to the tenant.

Keep reading to understand the legal processes and causes of eviction, and how you can handle these unpleasant situations.

Types of Termination Notices

There are three common types of termination notices that a landlord can use to evict a tenant given a probable cause.

Cure or Quit

The cure of quit notices are given to tenant who violate the terms and conditions enshrined in the rental agreement. For instance, if the tenant illegally sublets the property, keeps pets after signing a no-pet clause, or disturbs the neighbors with unacceptable behavior. In such a situation, a cure of quit notice is given to the tenant, allocating a time period to cure the violation. If the tenant fails to correct the violation, the landlord reserves the right to initiate eviction proceedings.

Pay Rent or Quit

The pay rent or quit notices come into play when the tenant is unable to pay the rent and continues creating delays and disturbances. Landlords are required to give the tenant at least 3-5 days to pay their rent and continue living in the property. However, if the tenant is unable to make the payment after the specified period, he/she must vacate the property.

Unconditional Quit

Much as the name implies, the unconditional quit notice is the strictest of all three termination notices. This notice requires the tenant to vacate the property without a chance to correct their violations or make rental payments. The tenant has to move out immediately. However, most states only allow landlords to file an unconditional quit notice under serious circumstances. /

These circumstances include:

  • When a tenant has repeatedly delayed rent payments.
  • When the tenant has caused considerable property damage.
  • When the tenant has violated the clauses of the rental agreement on several occasions.
  • When the tenant has conducted illegal activity on the premises, such as drug peddling or criminal activities.

When examining termination clauses, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the state-mandated requirements governing the landlord-tenant relationship. You see, some states do not mandate the landlord to provide tenants a grace period to correct their legal violations or pay their overdue rent. In such states, the landlord can file an unconditional quit notice without much hassle.

However, many states require landlords to extend second chances and be lenient towards their tenants. Once the tenant is served with a legal termination notice, they must vacate the property or correct their violations before the deadline. If that doesn’t happen, the landlord can initiate eviction proceedings.

Dealing with Eviction

Do you want to evict your tenant with a fixed-term lease to sell or move into your rental property? In most cases, landlords cannot terminate the tenancy without a probable cause in a fixed-term rental agreement.

In contrast, it’s easier to terminate the tenancy without cause in a short-term or monthly rental agreement. The landlord will have to provide the tenant with a written notice. However, it’s wise to examine the state-mandated legislation in this regard. Most states enforce rent control laws that prohibit landlords from ending short-term and even month-to-month lease agreements without a probable cause.

Learning about various termination notices and eviction proceedings can make the process seem pretty straightforward and easy. But it isn’t, far from it. You see, the tenant reserves the legal right to raise defenses against the eviction proceedings. If the tenant decides to build a strong defense, the legal proceedings are likely to get dragged for weeks or months.

A tenant can highlight errors in the eviction notice, or file a complaint regarding the inadequate delivery of the notice to create hurdles in the eviction lawsuit. Typically, the court will examine the actions taken by a landlord in the past to decide the merits of the eviction case. >/

If a landlord has failed to maintain a safe and habitable rental accommodation, the court will not decide in the property owner’s favor. Likewise, if the landlord has filed for eviction to extract vengeance from a tenant who has acted within his/her legal rights, the court will not rule in favor of the eviction.

When a landlord wins the eviction lawsuit, the tenant will have to vacate the property, and in most cases, pay the overdue rent. However, even after winning the lawsuit, the landlord cannot legally attempt to lock out the tenant, forcibly remove the family or shut off utilities and amenities. It’s crucial for the landlord to duly follow the state-mandated and local regulations to vacate the property. It’s wise to work with the local sheriff and police department.


The eviction process is overwhelmingly challenging and complicated. We advise landlords to avoid this unpleasant situation by investing in strict tenant screening and retention methods. Screening and retention allows landlords to run extensive background checks, and verify the credentials and reputation of each applicant. Nevertheless, even the most morally upright and responsible tenant can violate the rental agreement. Therefore, a landlord must understand the legal requirements of filing and handling eviction processes.

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty.

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