How to Legally EVICT A Tenant

by Walker & Reed, P.C. Legal Blog



On behalf of Walker & Reed, P.C. posted in blog on Friday, May 5, 2017.


Steps to legally evict a tenant


Even with tenant screening, most landlords will have to deal with a problem tenant at some point. Unfortunately for you, eviction can be a bit of a long and difficult process. You need to make sure you take each step correctly or you could be stuck with a troublesome tenant for a while or even get yourself into legal trouble.


Give notice of the eviction


You must provide a tenant with a written notice and allow them time to correct their behavior. The notice needs to contain all the necessary information they should know, including the reason for eviction and how many days they have to fix their error. If, for example, a tenant missed a payment, you could give notice that they have five days to make the payment before you file a lawsuit. If they make the payment, you must cease action to evict them.


However, the problem may keep occurring. If you are in a situation where a tenant constantly misses payments or breaks the rules of your lease/contract, you can give an unconditional quit notice but you need very good reason to do this.


File a lawsuit


If they fail to correct their behavior in the time period given, you will need to file a complaint in court and set a date for a court hearing. Tenants will have a chance to offer a defense. This usually involves the information on the eviction notice and how you served the notice, which is why it is so important to draft it correctly. If you have concerns, an attorney can help you write an eviction notice that protects you from legal trouble.


Do NOT do the following:

  • Change a tenant’s locks to prevent entry
  • Turn off a tenant’s utilities
  • Remove a tenant’s door
  • Take any of a tenant’s possessions
  • Threaten a tenant
  • Verbally order them to leave without a written notice


These behaviors are illegal. If you committed any of these, an eviction case could immediately be ruled in the tenant’s favor and you could face trouble of your own.


If a tenant refuses to leave


Even if you win the case, a tenant may try to continue living there. If this happens, take your court order to a sheriff. They can take action to remove the tenant.





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