No one wants to come home and find all of their worldly belongings piled outside the front door. If served with an eviction notice — however, this is definitely possible.
You probably know that an eviction is when tenants must leave a rental property before the lease is up. The good news is that good behavior and prompt rent payment are typically all it takes to avoid such an inconvenient event.
Still, it pays to know the protocol behind eviction, as well as what the rights are for both tenant and landlord.
It's unlawful for a landlord to evict someone in the middle of the lease because they found someone who will pay more for the unit or simply don't like the tenant. That said, there are a number of perfectly valid reasons a landlord can choose to start the painful eviction process. Learn what they are and how to avoid such a fate.
When a tenant signs on the dotted line, they agree to pay a certain amount on a certain day every month (usually the first). Failure to do so can result in eviction proceedings, so tread carefully with this.
Rather than missing your rent payment, ask the landlord for an extra couple of days to come up with the cash if you need it. If you've been otherwise ideal they probably won't mind too much. Get this in writing and find out if there's any kind of late fee.
If, however, you're at least three to five days late with the rent then eviction is justified (although this varies state-by-state).
If your rent is $1,000 per month and you only pay $500 it's not likely to go over well. Again, ask for a couple of days if you need an extension but don't make a habit of this.
Selling drugs, guns or running a meth lab out of your rental? This will likely get you out the door with an eviction.
The vast majority of leases clearly stipulate that illegal activity is not permitted on the property. Therefore — grounds for eviction.
Controlled substances, unlawful possession or use of a firearm and possession of stolen goods are all solid reasons for eviction.
A landlord can evict a tenant who commits any sort of domestic violence. This isn't just physical assault, though. Such an act includes harassment, kidnapping, custodial interference, endangerment, intimidation, abuse and other hurtful actions.
A good renter thinks of the people around them and keeps the place habitable. If you don't, this is a reason for eviction.
For example, a tenant must keep a unit at a reasonable level of cleanliness. This means not letting a rental get to the point where it has a foul odor or attracts vermin or rodents. Be sure to clean regularly!
Tenants also can't make others fearful of their safety, so no yelling, threats or fighting allowed.
If you don't move out when your lease is up, the next tenant can't move in. This will make any landlord pretty angry and is a reason for eviction.
Avoid eviction proceedings and paying penalties by either re-upping the lease ahead of time or simply move out when you're supposed to.
If you lease a unit from a landlord, you may not sublease it out to someone else while you're off on an extended vacation or staying with a boyfriend, even if you're still paying for it.
The person who signed the lease agreement needs to occupy the unit — unless your agreement allows subletting. Otherwise, the landlord can notify the renter of the breach and pursue eviction.
Let's say you and one other person sign a lease. A third party can't then move in without getting added to the lease by the landlord, even if there's plenty of room.
If this is something you want to do, broach the subject to see if it's an option and negotiate. Sweeten the pot by offering to pay a little more in monthly rent or extend the lease another year.
Pets are wonderful and awesome, but they can damage property, cause wear and tear and sometimes make lots of noise (especially barking dogs). This is why many landlords pose pet restrictions on renters, such as maximum dog weight, number of pets and types of pets.
If a landlord stops by after you adopt a new pooch — things could get dicey. Before bringing home any new fluffy, feathery or scaly friends, run it by the landlord to get permission. If given, make sure it's added to the lease to avoid problems down the road.
Normal wear and tear is acceptable, but gratuitous damage (whether on purpose or accidental) does not make a landlord happy. Do your best not to put holes in the drywall, flood the bathroom or otherwise wreck the space — unless you want to shop around for a new one!
Fortunately, there are a number of steps in place to protect both the tenant and the landlord during the eviction process. A person can't just be kicked out willy-nilly! The process varies somewhat, state-by-state (and even by county), but this is the general gist:
The good news — if you're being unfairly evicted, landlords cannot legally change the locks or toss your belongings out on the curb. They must go through this process to pursue a legal eviction.
The coronavirus pandemic hurt the financial stability of millions of Americans. As a result, an eviction moratorium was enacted by the federal government to keep people safe in their homes until things turn around.
As of May 2021, the eviction moratorium extended its timeline until June 30, 2021. The program has already been extended three times, so there is a chance that it will be re-upped again as the world continues to recover from the pandemic.
Renting is a two-way street. As long as both you and your landlord treat each other and the property with respect, you shouldn't have to worry about understanding potential reasons for eviction. But if you get an eviction notice, at least you'll be prepared.