Has my Eviction Notice been served on the tenant properly?
If you have sent an Eviction Notice but your tenant has not responded, you may want to confirm that your Eviction Notice was served, or delivered, correctly. There are state and local laws specifically about Eviction Notices, including how they must be sent and what they must say. If your notice did not follow the law, you may want to ask a lawyer as your tenant may not be required to respond.
When a landlord serves an Eviction Notice properly, the tenant usually has a set amount of time to fix the problem. If the tenant pays the unpaid rent, an Eviction Notice based upon unpaid rent may no longer be valid.
While your Eviction Notice typically must contain certain details, such as the violated lease term, tenant names, and rental address, it must also be provided to the tenant. Again, keep in mind that your state or local laws may have specific requirements on how Eviction Notices must be served. If, for some reason, your Eviction Notice was not served properly, then you may need to serve it again, and provide the tenant with more time.
Once the Eviction Notice has been served properly, if the tenant does not fix the problem in the amount of time stated in the notice, a landlord can move forward with an eviction in court.
Why might a tenant ignore an Eviction Notice?
If you are ready to evict a tenant, you are typically ready for them to move on. But sometimes a tenant might not respond to your properly written and served Eviction Notice, leaving you guessing about your next steps.
Here are some common reasons a tenant may not respond to your notice:
- They disagree with the reason for the eviction.
- They are upset or angry.
- They are scared.
- They do not have anywhere else to go.
- They need more time before moving to a new home.
While you may feel bad for your renters, you need to protect yourself both legally and financially. You may want to reach out to the tenant by text or phone to confirm they received the notice. If the problem is easily fixable, you may be able to work it out. If your tenant does not respond by the time called for in the notice, or to your texts or calls, then you may have no option but to proceed with filing an eviction lawsuit in court.
Should I serve another Eviction Notice if the tenant does not respond to the first one?
While you may want to confirm that your first notice was served correctly and contained the right information, you can start the eviction process once the time stated in your Eviction Notice expires. If your notice did not meet the legal requirements, you may need to serve a new notice before starting the eviction process in court.
After a notice expires, the next step is usually to file an eviction lawsuit with your local court. After filing the lawsuit, the tenant will have an opportunity to respond or fight the eviction. If the court approves the eviction, it will issue an order requiring the tenant to vacate. If a tenant refuses to follow the court order, then the local sheriff may be asked to remove the evicted tenant and their things.
What can I do if a tenant does not respond to an Eviction Notice?
If a tenant ignores an Eviction Notice that has been served properly, the usual next step is to go ahead with an eviction lawsuit.
If the tenant does not respond to the lawsuit, the court can issue a default judgment against the tenant, which means the eviction is automatically approved. Also, the court can order the tenant to pay you back rent, and potentially your attorney fees and court costs if it is in your Lease Agreement.
Depending on your state and local laws, the court may make a judgment for possession or a writ of restitution. In both cases, this lets the landlord ask local authorities for help retaking the property.
What should I not do if my tenant does not respond to an Eviction Notice?
While it is smart to take certain actions if a tenant does not respond to an Eviction Notice, there are also things you probably should not do. First, no matter how frustrated you are, it is almost never a good idea to try to remove a tenant from your rental property yourself. This is nearly always illegal.
It is also usually illegal to turn off the tenant’s utilities, change the locks, or threaten the tenant to get them to move. You could find yourself in big legal trouble if you do these things.
While the eviction process often seems slow and tedious, it is best to follow your state’s eviction process as carefully as you can. If you have eviction questions, or need help with an eviction, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney for affordable legal advice.
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.