How Do I Create an Eviction Notice?
As heartbreaking as it may be, if your tenant has violated their lease, then you may have the right to evict them from the property. Evictions may occur for various reasons outlined in the lease, such as failure to pay rent, health or safety violations, illegal activities, or damage to the premises. Although state laws vary, the eviction process typically begins with the Eviction Notice.
Let's take a moment to recap the Eviction Notice itself. Depending on your state, an Eviction Notice may be called a Notice to Quit, an Eviction Letter, or a Notice to Vacate. Generally, your Eviction Notice must contain certain information, such as the:
- Tenant's name.
- Date of the lease.
- Reason for the Eviction Notice.
- Notice period that gives the tenant a specific number of days to resolve the specified issues.
If you're unsure of state-specific or local rules, contact an experienced attorney who can walk you through the steps.
Note that the Eviction Notice itself cannot force a tenant to move from their property. Instead, you will need a court order requiring that the tenant vacate the premises. Going through the correct legal steps is essential to evicting a tenant.
What Does It Mean to "Serve" an Eviction Notice?
The landlord must "serve" the Eviction Notice to the affected occupants. "Service" or "service of process" means that the tenant was adequately notified about the potential eviction. For instance, if the tenant has fallen behind on rent payments, the landlord must inform the tenant in writing, giving the tenant the option to bring their rent current or face eviction.
If the tenant does not resolve the issues within the specified period of time designated on the notice, the landlord can proceed with legal action against the tenant.
For example, some example standard notice periods for evictions are:
- Three-day notice for health and safety violation.
- 10- or 14-day notice to comply with the terms of the lease, such as failure to pay.
- 14-day notice to comply with the terms of the lease; if the tenant does not comply, then the lease will terminate at the end of 30 days.
- 20-day notice to terminate the lease early.
In some states, the lease may contain a waiver provision in which the tenant may not receive a 10- or 14-day Eviction Notice if rent is late. Again, you'll need to check your state laws to confirm the rules surrounding service of process for Eviction Notices.
How Can an Eviction Notice Be Served?
Eviction Notices may be served in a few ways:
- In person.
- Through a process server.
- Through the sheriff or other local law enforcement.
- By regular U.S. mail or certified mail.
Additionally, some states allow for Eviction Notices to be served via email.
In most instances, the lease or local laws will specify how an Eviction Notice may be delivered. If, for example, personal service is required, this may be accomplished by identifying the person and then handing them the legal document. In this case, however, the legal documents may not be left with a minor or at the front door if no one is home.
In another example, notices may be delivered by U.S. mail or certified mail. You may also be able to serve the Eviction Notice through an overnight delivery service or even by email. If more than one method is legally sufficient, your lease and state or local laws will govern the exact delivery method or methods.
Who Can Serve an Eviction Notice?
Commonly, service of process can be made by an adult over 18. Thus, in many states, the landlord, an attorney, a paralegal, or even a friend or family member may serve Eviction Notices.
That said, many landlords choose to hire a professional to serve legal documents. These professionals are called process servers.
Process servers must follow state law when serving Eviction Notices. For example, they cannot threaten, trespass, or break into a home when serving legal documents. Depending on your location, a process server may have to register with your state before being allowed to serve legal documents. They also may be mandated to post a bond or cash amount when they register.
If an Eviction Notice is not served correctly, then the notice may not be legally recognized. You'll have to notify the tenant again of possible eviction by carefully following the terms of the lease as well as any state or local laws. You may not proceed with the eviction if the service was faulty.
To ensure you're correctly following lease terms and state and local rules, reach out to a lawyer skilled in landlord-tenant laws. To learn more about resources for landlords, visit Rocket Lawyer today. If you have specific questions or need help with lease documents, ask a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.