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Eviction Notice

Learn more about Eviction Notice

An Eviction Notice helps start the process to remove a tenant who has violated their lease agreement. While state laws vary, most eviction processes begin with an Eviction Notice. We offer eviction forms for all 50 states.

  • You are a landlord or property manager whose tenant is violating their lease agreement or month-to-month rental terms.

If your tenant has violated their rental agreement by not paying rent, housing a pet or by moving in unapproved roommates you can start the process to either remove the tenant or give them the terms they need to satisfy to stay using an Eviction Notice.

Notice to Vacate Letter, Notice to Quit, Eviction Notice Letter, Rental Eviction Notice, Notice to Vacate the Premises

Evictions are never fun or low cost for either party. But by filing the right paperwork with the courts and keeping meticulous records, the eviction process can go smoothly as possible. If you are dealing with tenant issues or are considering initiating an eviction, you should talk to an attorney about the best course of action.

While state and local laws vary, the basic process goes something like this:

  1. Tenant is late paying rent or has violated the lease agreement in some way.
  2. You may send out a Notice to Pay or a Comply or Quit Notice.
  3. You try to resolve the problem with the tenant and perhaps make a payment agreement.
  4. If they don't pay or comply on time, you file the proper paperwork with the local court and issue an Eviction Notice.
  5. You and the tenant attend a court hearing.
  6. If you win, the tenant will need to move. If they do not move, you can work with the local Sheriff to have them removed.
  7. Once the eviction is complete, you'll start the process of claiming the money they owe you for back rent and fees.

For your records, keep copies of everything including notices, rent receipts, lease agreements and all communications (phone calls, text messages, emails and notes). It is best if you have the Eviction Notice and important documents delivered by certified mail or by hand. If you place letters on their door, take a picture of it on the door for your records.

Evictions happen for a variety of reasons, but the most common include:

Late rent. This is the most common reason for an eviction. If the renter has a good history, many may opt to offer them a payment plan.

Persistent past due payments. State and local laws vary on whether you can use this reason.

Violation of unique clauses in the lease agreement. You may be able to evict someone if they violate unique rules such as no pets, roommates, large water tanks, "junk" on the balcony and so on.

Property damage. Some property managers begin the eviction process after excessive damage happens to the property at the fault of the renter.

Smoking. If the lease specifies no smoking and your tenant is smoking inside the building, you can usually try to evict the renters.

Illegal use. While you'd have to prove it, from police records or other, this is another reason to evict. Illegal use could be drug use or using the residential property as a business property.

Disturbing other tenants. If your renter repeatedly annoys other tenants, you may be able to evict the renter. You'll likely need to present proof such as copies of noise ordinance violations or letters from other tenants.

Violation of home association rules. You may have to evict your renters if they routinely violate HOA policies after you have attempted to make sure they know the rules.

Cash for keys is a private agreement that is not part of the standard eviction process, but it may help you vacate a tenant more quickly. This basically is a "voluntary vacate" in exchange for cash. In this type of agreement, you will offer the tenant a certain amount of money for them to quit the lease. The terms need to be well documented and the paperwork will need to include the information about what happens if they do not move. Often this type of agreement, even with the payout, is cheaper than going through the regular eviction process. How much you will need to pay to entice them to leave will vary, it could be $500, a full month's rent or more. You'll have to figure out what makes sense for your specific situation. You can use this type of agreement even if the renter has not violated their lease, but you want them to move, since it is a mutual agreement. In most situations, it is best to discuss your options with a lawyer.

First, you should try to always have an active Lease Agreement in place. Even if you are renting to family or friends it is always practical to have a lease agreement, so everyone has a clear understanding of the arrangement. If you find yourself in this situation, read the original lease agreement (if you have one) and see if the agreement says the lease will automatically renew. If not, and you have kept good payment records and receipts that may be enough to prove to the court that you indeed have a rental arrangement. The first step you may want to take is to try to work with your renters in a friendly way. If they comply, it is a good time to introduce a lease agreement. If they do not or cannot comply then you may proceed with the eviction as you would if they had a lease in place.

No matter how upset you may be with your tenants, you should not go it alone in evicting tenants. You will need to carefully document your communications and file paperwork with the court as needed. If you go rogue and annoy your renters by changing locks, visiting without a 24-hour notice or turning off utilities you might end up on the losing side of a court battle. You'll also want to refrain from excessive phone calls, text messages or notes because it could be considered harassment. It's best if you work with a lawyer and follow the formal process since you'll have better chances for success that way.

Each state and locality has unique landlord-tenant laws, but Rocket Lawyer can help. Beyond Eviction Notices, we also offer other useful documents including:

  • Late Rent Notice
    Some landlords start with a simple late rent notice before they start formal eviction proceedings, especially if the renter has been a good tenant thus far.
  • Late Rent Payment Agreement
    If your tenant is experiencing temporary hard times, you may decide to allow them to make payment arrangements.
  • Pet Addendum
    If you have a renter that has been compliant thus far and always pays their rent, you may decide to allow them to keep a pet. This document is in addition to the existing lease.
  • 30-Day Past Due Letter
    Some areas may require that you give a 30-, 60- or even 90-day notice for late rent. These letters will help you with your documentation.

If you are not sure about whether the document you created is suitable for your local area, you can ask a lawyer for advice or for a document review.