What most of us are concerned about is covering our monthly rent so we don’t receive that dreaded eviction notice, but even if you are a good tenant, it’s important to know what the eviction process is about, and which types of situations would constitute a notice of termination of your lease.
Let’s face it, an eviction is not pleasant. It is not pleasant for the tenant or the landlord, but it may be necessary depending on the circumstance.
In this guide, we learn when eviction notices are issued, how evictions work, and we explore some questions you might have about the procedure involved in the termination of a lease.
What is an Eviction?
An eviction is defined as the legal process of terminating a lease and removing a tenant from the property being rented.
Tenants cannot be evicted unless they receive a notice of termination (otherwise known as an eviction notice).
*Eviction laws differ between each state and local municipalities, so we encourage you to learn of your local eviction proceedings and how state law applies to your situation. For the purpose of this guide, we explore the basics and general facts surrounding rental evictions. *
How Does an Eviction Work?
When you rent an apartment, you and the landlord abide by the rental laws presented in the lease agreement. Tenants can only be evicted when one or more of the lease regulations/rental laws is broken, you have damaged the property, rent is not paid, or illegal activities are performed at the property. The landlord will issue a notice which includes a warning to remedy the situation (eg. pay the rent), or to vacate the rental. If you are participating in illegal activity, landlords can request an immediate eviction without issuing a warning. You will receive a notice of immediate termination of the lease, and you’ll be required to vacate the property.
In a different scenario, you’ve brought a pet home despite the lease stating that no pets are allowed in the apartment complex. In this circumstance, the landlord may first issue a notice to the tenant to remediate the situation by rehoming the pet. If the tenant refuses, they are in contravention of the lease and may be evicted.
Evictions are also pursued by landlords who wish to take control of a property. When a property that is rented is sold to a different owner and the new landlord wishes to take possession of the rental, they have the right to issue a notice of eviction, unless otherwise stated in the terms of an active lease.
The Process of an Eviction
While evictions generally follow a similar process, remember that it can differ based on the state you live in.
For example, in Texas, the landlord must give the tenant a 3-day notice to leave the property unless otherwise stated in the lease agreement. The landlord is also not required to give tenants time to pay the late rent or address the reason for breaking the lease. In New York, if a tenant is late with the rent, they must receive a 14-day notice. Tenants have the option to pay the rent within the 14 day period or vacate the property.
Evictions are pursued when tenants have broken their lease. Landlords will investigate the matter in question (late payment, property damage, etc.) and issue the tenant with a notice of termination. This notice also provides the tenant the chance to remediate the situation which includes a few days or weeks such as repairing property damage. If the tenant still doesn’t address the requirement, they can be evicted.
In cases of financial loss, landlords may also pursue an eviction lawsuit to recuperate rent, property damage, and even court costs from the tenant.
Who Can Be Evicted from an Apartment or Rental Property?
When you cannot pay your rent, you fail to repair property damage, or you violate the terms of the lease, you can be evicted from your rental. That’s why it’s always a good idea to read your lease and to understand the terms and conditions. That way you can protect your tenancy and you can establish a rewarding tenant and landlord relationship for the duration of your lease.
How are Renters Protected Against “At-Will” Evictions
There are instances where a landlord simply presents a notice of eviction with no ‘good’ or ‘just’ reason. California is a state that allows "no-fault" evictions. Renters can be evicted for numerous of reasons, or for no reason. Renters who are evicted without doing anything wrong may pursue a ‘no fault’ eviction only if this form of protection is offered in the state.
The Different Types of Eviction/Termination Notices
Each type of offense will receive a different termination or eviction notice, let's look at the most common types...
I. Notice to Pay Rent
If a tenant doesn’t pay rent, landlords will issue a pay rent notice. One will typically receive a few days to a week to settle the outstanding rent but if the balance is not paid, then an eviction may be pursued.
II. Cure Notice
When tenants break a condition of the lease, such as making too much noise or adding a permanent fixture to the interior, the landlord will give them a notice to correct the situation. If after a specific period the violation continues or is not “cured,” the landlord will issue an eviction notice.
III. Unconditional Quit Notice
In this instance, the tenant has no opportunity to correct the situation and will be issued with a notice to move out. There are circumstances that warrant an immediate eviction, and these include:
· Engaging in illegal activity on the property
· Repeatedly paying rent late or not paying rent at all
· Property damage including structural damage
· Failing to correct a lease violation
Consideration of the laws in your state is important when it comes to the procedure for the termination of a lease. In certain states, your landlord may not have to give you notice to remedy a situation. In Indiana, if a tenant is on a month-to-month lease and wilfully damages the property the landlord can terminate tenancy immediately. So, if you don’t pay the rent on time, you can be issued a notice to move out without the chance or time to address it.
General Eviction Notices and Evictions Without Cause
In Texas, the landlord can issue a 30-day notice to terminate a lease. In NY the landlord can give you 30 to 90 days' notice to move out and will specify the date on which you must move out. Florida landlords can issue tenants a 3 day written notice for the payment of outstanding rent or to vacate the premises. Tenants who do not leave the property or remedy the rent will be subject to legal action.
Actually, in the province of Alberta, which is located in Canada, the type of notice received and the period for eviction will depend on the situation. If the property is deliberately and extensively damaged, tenants in Alberta have 24 hours to vacate the property or 14 days to respond to a notice of eviction when the lease terms are violated.
Tenants who object to the termination of lease notice and who do not vacate the property, regardless of the state they live in, will be issued a court notice.
Where to Find Eviction Laws in My Area?
The first step is to take a closer look at your lease agreement. Understand what each clause means and try to be a valuable tenant. This can prevent you from violating any of the terms in the agreement.
Pay your rent on time and if you foresee a problem with settling your rent, speak to the landlord or reach out to organizations such as the HUD offering a rent assistance program.
You can also learn more about “no cure” rental evictions for each state by visiting the legal encyclopedia of unconditional lease terminations.
How will the Eviction Notice Be Communicated to Me?
You can receive a notice of eviction in a text, email, letter, or even a Whatsapp message. The amount of time you have to move out once served an eviction notice will differ according to individual states.
The most typical period to vacate a property after notice is issued is 30 days. In some states, it can be as little as 7 days or as long as 60 days.
In Georgia, unless explicitly stated in the lease, the landlord does not have to give written notice and does not have a specific notice period. Once the tenants are aware of the notice they have 7 days to pay or comply with the Order.
How Long Does the Process of Eviction Take?
Again, the process of ending a tenancy will differ depending on the state you live in. In some states, it takes two weeks while others take months. The process is influenced by the reason for ending a lease and whether tenants are provided time to remedy the situation.
The amount of time you have to move out once served an eviction notice will differ according to individual states.
The most typical period to vacate a property after notice is issued is 30 days. In some states, it can be as little as 3 days as in the case of Florida tenancy and eviction law or as long as 90 days for tenants in NYC.
How Can I Prevent Being Evicted?
Evictions are a tricky process and because the laws differ depending on where you live, you may not always be given a second chance to correct the situation before being evicted. It is all about understanding the terms of your lease agreement and openly communicating with your landlord.
If you know that your rent will be late, speak to the landlord rather than delay the payment. Some landlords and property managers are willing to assist you depending on your circumstances. They could even direct you to programs such as rent assistance.
Remember, if you are required to vacate the rental property, the eviction will reflect on your rental history record for the next 7 years. Fortunately, not every eviction means that there’s a negative situation behind the motion. Some people are evicted when property developers take over a rental or the property deeds change. A future landlord may discuss the reasons for your eviction with you to determine whether you are a valuable tenant, so be clear about why you were evicted.
Try your utmost to manage the terms of your lease and you’ll experience the endless benefits of renting!
Let’s take a look at common questions and answers concerning evictions…
Can a Landlord Evict Me if I Break a Verbal Agreement?
Your landlord can only evict you on the basis of breaking the terms and conditions included in the lease or should you violate an amended clause that is recorded in the lease. While you may not be evicted on the basis of breaking a verbal agreement, it certainly doesn’t place your tenancy in a positive light or standing with your landlord.
How Much Time Do I Have to Vacate a Property Once Served an Eviction Notice?
Once served notice, you usually have 30 days. It also depends on the terms of your lease, the state, and the reason for ending the lease. If you live in New York, a general move-out request can take 30 to 90 days but as little as 3 days in Florida, so be sure to read up on the relevant state eviction laws.
Can an Eviction Affect My Credit?
If your eviction is owed to late or non-payment of rent it can affect your credit record. Because tenants are tracked digitally, all activities including evictions or payment issues are recorded. For those with a section 8 housing subsidy, failing to pay your rent could compromise your voucher assistance.
If I Move Out of My Apartment, is it Considered Eviction?
When you move out before your lease ends, you’ll be breaking the lease. It is not considered eviction; however, does come with penalties such as the loss of the security deposit.
What You Should Know About the Termination of a Lease
The best way to avoid evictions is to abide by the conditions of your lease.
If you do find yourself in a tough situation, communicate with your landlord or find support and advice from a property manager. Some landlords are willing to help you depending on your circumstance.
Evictions can be a hard pill to swallow, and it can affect your ability to find another home to rent. Fortunately, you have the option of renting a second chance apartment if you have been previously evicted. To learn more about your renting options, don’t forget to check out our guide: Second Chance Made Easy for more information.