In an ideal landlord-tenant relationship, the tenant pays rent on time, has no complaints, and renews their lease every year. Unfortunately, not all landlord-tenant relationships are that easy. Many landlords will experience an issue with a tenant that will eventually force the landlord to file to evict the tenant.
However, not every conflict is grounds for eviction. According to your state laws, you must have “just” or “good” cause to evict a tenant.
Each state has different rules for the eviction process and has different reasons you may file for an eviction, so it is important to check your state’s landlord-tenant laws. Here are some common reasons you may be able to file for an eviction.
Non-Payment of Rent
By nature, a tenant pays a landlord an agreed upon amount of money in order to occupy a dwelling for a set period of time. The tenant signs a lease agreement and must abide by the terms of this lease. The most basic responsibility of a tenant under this lease agreement is to pay rent. If the tenant does not pay their monthly rent, they are in violation of their lease agreement.
State laws will differ regarding the eviction process for the reason of unpaid rent. In some states, you can initiate the eviction process immediately. In other states, you must first send the tenant a Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.
A Notice to Pay Rent or Quit informs the tenant that they have not paid rent and it indicates the amount they owe. It lets them know that if they do not remedy the situation immediately, you will file for an eviction. You should also be aware that there are certain situations where a tenant is legally allowed to withhold rent, such as until a health or safety violation at the property is remedied.
Habitual Late Payment of Rent
In most states, not only can you file to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent, you can also file for an eviction if the tenant habitually pays their rent late. The exact terms, such as how many days the rent must be late, will vary by state.
Before you can file for the eviction, you must first send the tenant a Notice to Quit. This Notice must be sent, in some cases, as much as a month before you can file for an eviction. It lets the tenant know they must pay their rent on time, or you will file for an eviction. If the tenant makes another late payment after receiving this Notice to Quit, it is then that you can file for the eviction.
Damage to the Property
If the tenant damages the property, you can file for an eviction. This damage must be in excess of normal wear and tear on the property. An example of normal wear and tear would be a couple of stains on a carpet. An example of excessive damage could be a tenant putting a giant hole through an exterior wall.
The damage must be intentionally caused by the tenant or by their gross negligence. If the tenant does damage the property, they may agree to, or may volunteer to, pay to have the damage fixed. It is then up to you if you want to accept the payment and believe this will not happen again or if you want to go ahead with eviction proceedings. You must file a Notice to Quit before you are able to initiate eviction proceedings.
Disrupting Other Tenants
If the tenant is being a disturbance and interfering with the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the other tenants in the building, you can file for an eviction. Again, you must first present the tenant with a Notice to Quit the behavior.
In the Notice to Quit, you must specifically not the behavior in question, whether it be playing loud music, loud parties or any other disrupting behavior. If the tenant continues the behavior after receiving the Notice to Quit, you can file for the eviction.
If the tenant refuses to move out after their lease has ended, you can file for an eviction. Many leases automatically switch to month to month leases after the initial lease term has ended. In this case, you must present the tenant with a Notice to Quit which explains that they have “X” number of days, usually between 30 and 60 days, to move out of the property or you will file for an eviction.