The Kansas eviction process has a few unique features from other states. These depend on the type of notice required and the time limits for tenants to vacate, which can extend the time for an eviction to several weeks.
All Kansas landlords, though, must follow the state landlord tenant laws in expelling a tenant. If a landlord fails to follow the Kansas eviction process, his or her eviction case could be dismissed or if the landlord tries some self-eviction measures, a tenant could sue the landlord for damages.
Attempting to evict a tenant by force, by shutting off utilities, denying the tenant access to the property or by threatening the tenant is illegal. Damages include having to pay the tenant 1.5 times the rent or the tenant’s actual damages, whichever is higher, attorney’s fees and possibly punitive damages in especially egregious cases.
3-Day Notice to Quit
For nonpayment of rent, the Kansas eviction process requires that a 3-day notice be used. The notice should indicate the amount of rent owed and advise the tenant that the lease will terminate unless the tenant pays the required rent within the 3 days, and that legal action will be sought if the tenant remains on the premises after failing to pay the rent.
14/30-Day Notice for Noncompliance
For material noncompliance with the rental agreement other than nonpayment of rent, the landlord must serve the tenant with a Kansas eviction notice of 14-days for the tenant to comply with the particular lease provision that has been violated. It must state that the lease will terminate 14 days after service unless the situation is remedied and that if there is noncompliance, the tenant must vacate within the following 30-days or legal action will commence.
Material noncompliance with a rental lease provision could include having unauthorized pets or tenants living on the property, not keeping the unit habitable by having trash accumulate, being a nuisance to other tenants or by damaging the property.
For month-to-month leases, a landlord can terminate the lease without having to give a reason and by giving the tenant 30-days to leave the property.
Service of Notice
Any Kansas eviction notice must be properly served or the eviction suit may be dismissed. A tenant can be served personally on the tenant or on a resident who is at least 12 years old. If this is not possible, the landlord can post the notice to the unit’s door or by placing it in some other conspicuous place. The Kansas eviction process also allows notice to be sent by registered or certified mail. Any type of service must attested to with some courts requiring more proof such as a photo of the notice affixed to the door in case the tenant denies service.
If the notice is mailed, an additional 2 days is given to the tenant to comply. Weekends and holidays are included in the notice period.
Summons and Petition for Forcible Detainer
Should the tenant fail to pay the rent or does not cure the lease violation and vacate after 30-days, the landlord must file and serve a summons and petition for forcible detainer. The landlord may include in the petition a request for damages including the rent owed.
The court clerk will set a hearing date for a “docket call,” which cannot be less than 3 or more than 14 days after the filing. The tenant is served by the sheriff with the summons and petition, which advises the tenant of the time, place and location of the hearing. The tenant must appear at the hearing to contest the petition or be in default.
The docket call is a preliminary hearing in which the court sees if the parties can resolve their issues. If not, the court schedules a trial within the next 8 days.
Filing an Answer
If the tenant disputes the petition at the docket hearing, he or she has 10 days to file and serve an Answer or before the trial date. In the Answer to the petition, the tenant must state the nature of the dispute and any affirmative defenses to the landlord’s claim. If the tenant has a counterclaim, such as a claim for damages for having to repair a hazardous condition or some other condition the landlord was obligated to repair, or for the landlord’s breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, the landlord must file a reply or he or she waives the right to dispute the counterclaim.
Depending on the eviction reason, there are a number of defenses available to a tenant:
- Landlord accepted partial rent. If so, the landlord may have waived his or her right to continue with the eviction.
- Improper notice was given.
- Improper service.
- Tenant was not given proper notice for a rental increase.
- The unit was not livable with inadequate heat, water and utility services.
- The landlord failed to remedy an unsafe or unsanitary condition despite written notice
- Retaliatory eviction. The eviction is in response to the tenant having complained to the local or state authorities about the landlord or for participating in a tenants’ rights union.
- Discriminatory eviction. A tenant cannot be evicted on the basis of religion, nationality, gender, family status, creed, or disability. In some jurisdictions, sexual preference is not a permitted reason.
An eviction hearing is held before a judge about 8 days after the docket hearing. Both sides may present their cases but the landlord must prove that the tenant either failed to pay the stated rent owed or failed to cure the lease violation.
Should the landlord win, the court will issue a judgment of possession for the landlord. The tenant will be given a certain time to vacate. If the tenant remains on the premises, the landlord must obtain a Writ of Restitution.
The writ is given to the sheriff to execute who must do so within 10 days. In some counties, the landlord may have to supply his or her own labor or manpower to remove the tenant’s belongings under supervision by the sheriff.
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