The general steps include (in this order) preparing the eviction notice, serving the notice, filing a complaint, going to a hearing, and then removing the tenant. Most landlords do not get to the last few steps because the tenant will voluntarily leave at some earlier point.
The helpful infographic below will help you understand the basic steps of the Eviction Process. When you are done, be sure to check out your state’s specific eviction laws and procedures.
The Landlord Guidance Eviction Process
5 Steps for a Landlord to Remove a Tenant
Where do Eviction Laws Come From?
- Your State’s Property Code
Every State has their own property laws, and thus their own eviction laws. Your state’s legislature has passed landlord tenant laws that regulate how to evict a tenant.
- Judges’ Rulings
Judges make rulings on disputes which affect the way the eviction laws are implemented.
Reasons To Evict a Tenant
- Failure to Pay the Rent
This is the most common reason for Eviction
- Damaging the Property, Criminal Activity, etc.
Most States allow you to evict for these reasons
- Lease is up and you don’t want theme to renew
Or if a tenant is on a month-to-month, you need to give them a notice to leave
Step 1: Prepare Your Eviction Notice
This must be done right! Every state has different requirements. If your Eviction Notice is defective, you will have trouble removing your tenant. We provide your state’s form on our Eviction Forms page. It works!
Step 2: You Must “Serve” Your Eviction Notice
Your Eviction Notice must be delivered to your tenant in accordance with your state’s Eviction Process Laws. Some common ways of “serving” notice include:
- Personal Delivery to tenant. It is usually good to bring a witness with you.
- Taping the Notice to the Front Door, Many states allow this
- First Class Mail or Certified Mail. Sometimes you must send it both ways.
Step 3: Tenant Still there? Time to sue for Forcible Entry and Detainer
If the tenant is still in the property after the time period in the eviction notice is up, you must file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Your local court will issue a summons and complaint which tells the tenant they have been sued and sets a time for the eviction hearing.
Step 4: Go to Court for your Hearing
The judge will examine all the evidence, listen to each side of the story, and decide of the eviction is valid
If landlord wins, tenant is given specified amount to move out.
If tenant wins, then tenant can stay, usually subject to conditions
Step 5: Still not out? Time to Get the Sheriff Involved
So what happens if you win the eviction lawsuit, yet your tenant remains defiant and refuses to leave. The landlord needs to apply to the court for a Writ of Possession (sometimes called “Recovery” or “Restitution”). The court will direct the Sheriff or Constable to give the tenant one final warning (usually a few more days), and then to physically remove the tenant, by force if necessary.
The Eviction Process
Remember, this is a general description of the eviction process. Each State is different. Learn your state’s specific eviction process by going to your state’s eviction article here.