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Making an Eviction Notice
While state laws vary, most legal eviction processes begin with an Eviction Notice. If your tenant has violated their rental agreement by not paying rent or otherwise not upholding the lease terms, you can use an Eviction Notice to document the breach of contract and warn the tenant that you will take action to remove them if they fail to comply with the terms of the lease. It is important to note that this document by itself cannot force renters to move. You still need a court order to evict a tenant legally. An Eviction Notice form may also be called an Eviction Letter, Notice to Vacate Letter, or Notice to Quit.
If this is your first time initiating an eviction, you may want to talk to a lawyer about the best course of action for your situation. Generally speaking, by keeping good records and filing paperwork properly, your experience removing a tenant can be much less stressful. Learn more about how to use our free Eviction Notice template, what to include, and how to protect your rights as a landlord or property manager.
No matter how frustrated you may be, you should not try to remove a tenant without the proper legal action and paperwork. It is important to carefully document your communications and operate fully within the law. If you go rogue and take illegal actions such as turning off utilities, changing locks without a court order, or entering a unit without proper notice, 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 that you work with a lawyer and follow the formal eviction process.
When properly drafted, an Eviction Notice letter can help to protect you as a landlord or property manager by:
Even if you don't have a written lease in place, it is still critical to follow the formal legal process starting with the eviction letter.
Normally, yes, and you may draft an Eviction Notice to initiate the process. However, due to the pandemic, there are a few special protections in place for tenants who can't pay rent. Although the recently extended federal ban on eviction has been struck down by the Supreme Court, state and municipal governments across the country have the authority to maintain their own regulations for evictions. Keep up with the most recent developments for each state or ask a local lawyer for more specific input.
Please note that in many states, it is within a tenant's rights to withhold or deduct rent if the landlord is not fulfilling their contractual obligation to keep the property habitable and safe. If you find yourself in this situation, it is recommended that you speak with a lawyer.
The amount of notice that landlords are required to give varies based on state law. There can also be different notice periods for nonpayment of rent compared to other lease violations. Typically, the eviction notice period can range between 0 and 30 days depending on the state, with the most common times being 3, 5, or 7 days. When you make an Eviction Notice with Rocket Lawyer, your document will automatically be populated with the legal notice period required in your state.
Depending on the state and on the terms of the Lease Agreement, there may be additional rules regarding how long the rent must be overdue before an Eviction Notice can be delivered. As housing laws can vary by locality, it is important to talk to a lawyer to understand what laws apply to your specific situation.
In most cases, you can evict month-to-month without cause. You'll need to verify the local requirements, but in most areas, you can serve a 30- or 60-day notice of termination. Before you deliver the notice, verify that the original lease did not automatically roll over into a new rental contract. If an active lease agreement still exists, you'll need to comply with the terms of that lease. If the rental is located in a rent-controlled area, you may not be able to evict without cause.
A holdover tenant is one whose lease is about to expire or has expired. If you do not plan on renewing a lease, you need to provide to them a Notice to Quit within a certain amount of time. The amount of notice depends on the location of the property and often how long the tenant has lived in the unit.
Generally speaking, no. A landlord cannot be awarded a court order for possession of a property if any tenants will continue to reside there. It is important to name all of the tenants in your Eviction Notice so that the court can grant you full possession of the property. Failure to name all of the tenants could result in a dismissal of your case.
Luckily, you won't need to start from scratch when making your document. When using Rocket Lawyer, you are able to create Eviction Notices online with ease. Your document will be built step by step as you enter information. This route is often notably less time-consuming than hiring your average lawyer. As a Rocket Lawyer Premium member, you can easily edit and make duplicate copies of your letter, as needed. You can also download it in PDF or Word format and print it anytime.
When ready, you can click the "Make document" button to check out our sample Eviction Notice sample and preview the questions that you will need to answer to create your document. You usually should organize these critical details for a Notice to Vacate:
Remember, you will need to confirm that any policies and terms referred to in the Eviction Notice are actually present in the fully executed rental contract.
It depends. While you may prefer to draft a Notice of Eviction by yourself, the majority of property owners who end up going to court have a lawyer present. When you sign up for a Premium membership, you can ask any specific legal questions or have an attorney review your Eviction Notice before you sign it.
There are several scenarios, where you might prefer to work with an attorney. If this is your first eviction or if you expect that your tenant will have legal representation, it is strongly recommended that you hire an attorney. If the tenant is filing for bankruptcy, if they are an employee (like an on-site property manager), or if the unit is rent-controlled, it may also be in your best interest to seek legal guidance.
Making an Eviction Notice with Rocket Lawyer is free, however, there may be other fees associated with the rest of the eviction process, such as attorney fees. The cost associated with hiring a traditional legal provider to evict a tenant could total anywhere between hundreds of dollars and thousands. With Rocket Lawyer, any landlord or property manager under a Premium membership can take advantage of up to a 40% discount when hiring an On Call attorney.
When considering the cost of eviction, you will also need to account for court fees and process server/certified mail fees (if applicable), as well as the cost of a locksmith, movers, and/or storage. Outside of immediate monetary costs, eviction can also be stressful and time-consuming, so it is often ideal that you invest in better tenant screening upfront to avoid potential problems with renters in the future.
Legal fees for eviction are a tax-deductible business expense for landlords, so be sure to keep your invoices and talk to an accountant or CPA, if you have questions.
Each completed Eviction Notice form comes with a Make It Legal™ checklist of the actions you need to take to finalize your document. Your checklist will be specific to the state that your property is located in. Here are a few general next steps:
It is important to remember that "do-it-yourself" or "self-help" evictions are not legal. Property owners should not turn off utilities and services, padlock the entrances, move property, or attempt to intimidate tenants in any way in an effort to make them move out. Acting lawfully leading up to and throughout the eviction proceedings will give you the best chance of removing tenants successfully with an official judgment from the court.
As you prepare to file for an eviction, it is always a good idea to work with a lawyer. An attorney with experience in evictions can help make sure you follow local laws and processes. In order to assemble all of your records for your lawyer, you may want to fill out an Eviction Process Worksheet. This document provides basic information about your tenant and their violation(s) of your rental agreement. You can also attach documentation, including a copy of the lease, photographs of the damage, repair estimates, written statements of witnesses, police reports, and other documents to support your case. Outside of reviewing your Eviction Notice letter, your attorney can help you prepare and defend your case once it goes in front of a judge.
If you need to move forward with legal action after delivering the Eviction Notice, you'll need to file your lawsuit properly with the local courts. The local government website or a local lawyer can tell you which documents you'll need to file and what the fees might be. A local lawyer with experience in eviction can help you navigate the process most efficiently.
Yes. Simply select your state from the menu above, or choose a specific state from the list below: