As a landlord, unlawful detainers might make you question why you ever became a landlord in the first place. The term refers to to anyone who retains possession of real property without a legal right to do so. Evicting a tenant under United States law is a can be a complicated procedure, due to the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees due process.

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Who Is an Unlawful Detainer?

There are plenty of examples of who can be considered an unlawful detainer. These include tenants remaining in an apartment after their lease expired and was not renewed, inhabitants who refuse to leave the property after being served with a notice to vacate the premises for whatever reason (usually a breach of lease, such as non-payment or violation of its provisions), squatters and similar. While as a landlord you may want to get rid of them as fast as possible, in reality, you have to submit the proper paperwork to the courts in order to proceed.

How Do You Remove One?

Each state regulates the matter in its own way. Usually, you will be required to submit a complaint against the tenant in a district court and present them with a summons. Both you and the alleged unlawful detainer will be required to present your case during the hearing, after which the judge will make a decision. If your claims are found to have merit, for example, due to the fact that the former tenant has no legal reason to remain in your property, they will be ordered to vacate the promises. The court may also authorize law enforcement officials to evict them by force, if necessary. Always remember to familiarize yourself with your state regulations before starting the procedure, to ensure that your documentation is in order and the judge can rule without asking you to provide missing documents.

Need help with an unlawful detainer? Ask a lawyer and get the legal advice you need to take back your property.

Get started Start Your Eviction Notice Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Eviction Notice Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.