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Contact us if you are a landlord and need assistance serving an eviction notice.
In some states, landlords may evict tenants without cause. However, renters may be protected in states that allow no-fault evictions, particularly if discriminatory or retaliatory actions are taken. The eviction procedure is generally similar across states and localities: the landlord must issue an eviction notice, specifying a period for the tenant to pay rent or address damages. If the tenant fails to comply, the landlord can file court documents and evict them.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The eviction notice is a lawful procedure that enables landlords to remove tenants from their rental property when they fail to pay or violate the rental terms. Other circumstances that authorize eviction proceedings may also apply, as governed by state and municipal regulations in the United States. A formal notice of eviction must be given to renters by landlords, as required by law. The notice must detail the grounds for eviction and the number of days before the eviction process begins.
In most cases, eviction notices do not require notarization as they are intended to merely notify tenants of their impending eviction. It is important that these notices are delivered in a timely manner, in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations, so that the tenant can vacate the premises within the timeframe stated in the document.
To make it legally effective, the landlord must adequately serve the tenant a 3-day, 30-day, or 60-day notice. This process is known as the service of notice and is meant to ensure that the recipient receives the notice. A landlord may deliver the notice to “pay rent or leave” through one of three methods: personally, by substituted service, or by posting and mailing. A 30-day or 60-day notice can be served using any of these methods or sent via certified or registered mail with a return receipt requested. To legally serve an eviction notice, the landlord must personally hand it to the tenant. If the tenant cannot be found at home or at work, the landlord may use “substituted service” instead. This requires leaving the notice with a person of “suitable age and discretion” at the tenant’s home or place of work and mailing a copy to the tenant at the rental unit’s address. The 3-day period begins the day after service is completed. If the landlord cannot personally serve the notice on the tenant or by substituted service, they may serve the notice by posting and mailing it.
Landlords may opt to hire professional process servers to serve eviction notices, ensuring they comply with all applicable local and state laws. Unlawful actions such as trespassing, breaking and entering, or using any form of intimidation when serving legal documents are strictly prohibited. If the eviction notice is not served correctly, then the landlord must notify the tenant again, in strict accordance with any applicable laws, in order to proceed with the eviction.
After issuing an eviction notice, the landlord must file an unlawful detainer case in civil court, identifying the renter as the defendant. Eviction cases are heard in district, small claims, and housing courts. Both parties must attend, and legal representation is allowed. Evidence of wrongdoing, including photos, emails, text messages, and witness testimony, must be provided to support each party’s case. The judge reviews the evidence and testimony to decide whether to evict or deny the landlord’s case. If the landlord attends and the tenant fails to appear, the judge can order an eviction. The judge may also determine any monetary damages to be awarded. A Writ of Possession is the final step in regaining legal possession of the property. It is highly recommended to seek the help of a qualified eviction attorney at each step of the process to ensure all unlawful detainer filings are done correctly, avoiding delays and costly mistakes.
If tenants have received a judgment order in their case, they may be eligible to file a motion to reverse the court’s decision. This motion can be filed if the landlord wrongfully evicted them, if they reached a settlement with the landlord, if the landlord failed to provide them with proper notice of eviction, or if any other applicable circumstances exist. Once the motion is filed, they must also file an order documenting the judge’s decision, which will indicate whether it was accepted or denied.
Evictions can appear on public records, as tenant screening services and credit bureaus regularly update their records. Banks and other lending institutions may access an individual’s eviction record to assess their financial situation. Typically, it takes one to three months for evictions to be registered on public records. However, an eviction can only be legally enforced if the tenant has received a valid legal notice to vacate the premises and has failed to do so. In certain counties, an eviction may be registered without a court order. If the landlord loses the case, the entry may be reversed.
Landlords often utilize tenant screening services to evaluate potential tenants. An eviction record may lead other landlords to reject the tenancy application. Therefore, individuals must make sure their eviction record is accurate and up-to-date.
Evictions may not be reflected on an individual’s credit report, but they can still affect their future rental prospects. The most common eviction notice is a ‘notice to pay or quit’ issued by a landlord for unpaid rent. If the issue is resolved, the eviction process is terminated. If not, the landlord may seek a court order for eviction. A court-ordered eviction is official but does not affect an individual’s credit report, as credit reports only reflect financial debt, not legal action like evictions. However, tenant background checks often search public records for evictions, so potential landlords may still be aware of an eviction. Unpaid rent or other charges may also be sent to collections, decreasing the individual’s credit score.