It is advisable for landlords to thoroughly screen their potential tenants before leasing the rental property. This way, you will avoid troublesome tenants. However, in case you have a tenant who is not upholding the lease agreement, it is best for you to be aware of the State laws and the legal process you should observe when dealing with such matters.
If a tenant has violated the lease agreement, you can either ask them to correct the issue or move out from the premises. This eviction process usually starts when you send the tenant an eviction notice. It is about informing the tenant to rectify the lease violation, or they may get evicted. In most cases, you are likely to prepare the eviction notice due to the tenant’s failure to pay rent.
In this article, you will learn about preparing and sending an eviction notice to the tenant upon various lease violations, the essential information it must have, and the types of eviction notice you can use depending on your situation.
Eviction Notice Templates
An eviction notice is an essential legal document that must contain the correct details to be valid in court. Since this is the case, it is best to use a template when preparing an eviction notice. As a landlord, an eviction notice template will guarantee accuracy and save you time as you won’t have to start from scratch.
You can access our free-to-download, easy-to-use, and customizable eviction notice templates on our website today. The following are certain types of eviction notice templates.
What is an Eviction Notice?
An eviction notice is a legal document you can prepare to warn the tenant of the legal actions you will take to remove them from the rental premises for failure to pay rent or failure to uphold the terms and conditions of the lease agreement.
Remember, you will still need a court order to successfully evict the renter since an eviction notice alone cannot facilitate the eviction itself. Usually, once you send this document, your tenant will only have the period you have provided to leave the rental premises or comply with the lease agreement. If either of these actions does not happen, you can seek a court order from a judge to forcibly remove the tenant and their belongings.
As a landlord, depending on what the tenant has done to prompt you to start the eviction process, you can either prepare a curable or an incurable eviction notice. A curable eviction notice is one where you will provide the tenant with a set number of days to fix the breach. This notice aims at finding a “cure” to the problem before resorting to eviction. On the other hand, preparing an incurable notice means that you do not want the tenant to fix the problem but want them to evict the premises within a set time.
An eviction notice is also referred to as:
- An eviction letter
- Notice to vacate letter
- Notice to quit
The eviction process itself can also be called:
- Eviction lawsuit
- Forcible detainer
- Summary possession
- Summary process
- Unlawful detainer action (UDA or UD)
Types of Eviction Notices
There are four types of eviction notices you can prepare as a landlord based on the situation of lease violation. They include the following:
Pay rent or Quit notices
Prepare this document if the tenant has failed to pay rent. Based on your State laws, the tenant will have 3 to 5 days to pay the rent or leave.
Cure or Quit notices
This type of eviction notice allows you to warn the tenant about certain lease violations, for instance, having a pet when there is a no-pet policy. The tenant must “cure, fix the problem’’ or vacate the premises.
Some States will require you to provide a minimum 3-day eviction notice, while others do not require you to provide a minimum notice, especially if the issue is mentioned in the lease agreement.
Unconditional quit notices
You should prepare this eviction notice to end your month-to-month agreement with a tenant. In most cases, the tenant has likely refused to correct the issue, failed to pay rent, violated the lease contract, committed a crime on the rental premises, overstayed their lease (Tenant at Sufferance), or damaged the property.
This eviction notice provides the tenant with a 30-day eviction notice to leave the premises since you are ending the tenancy.
Notice of termination
This eviction notice is used to end those lease agreements that usually automatically renew at the end of the tenancy term such as the month-to-month lease.
Do you know? If a tenant leaves because they want to and not because you are evicting them, they need to provide you with a notice to vacate. This document is meant to inform you of their intentions to leave, giving you time to handle the necessary procedure and find a new tenant for the rental property.
Reasons for Eviction
As a landlord, you may have to serve your tenant with an eviction notice due to the following reasons:
Failure to pay rent
If the due date for rent has passed and the tenant has not paid their rent, you can use the eviction notice to remind them to pay rent by a particular date or leave the rental premises.
Fact check: As a landlord, you must remember that your tenant might delay paying rent due to a death in the family, sudden unemployment, illness, or even a work injury. Before you lose time and money by serving the tenant with an eviction notice, you can approach your tenant for a discussion regarding how and when they are willing to pay the rent. Open communication and your tenant’s desire to cooperate can save you from legal procedures.
Lease agreement violation
For this reason, you can ask the tenant to rectify the issue following their signed rental agreement or ask them to leave by a specific date.
Month-to-month tenancy termination
If, as a landlord, you wish to terminate the month-to-month tenancy with your tenant, prepare an eviction notice to inform them about the end of the tenancy.
Overstaying after the lease is over
Once the lease period is over, a tenant is expected to vacate your rental premises unless they have renewed the agreement. If that is not the case, you can prepare an eviction notice to warn them about remaining at the property even after the lease has expired and ask them to vacate the property.
Other common reasons for eviction include
- Damaging property by the tenant
- Breaking the law or causing a disturbance on the rental premises
- If you, as the owner, want to move in
- If you as the landlord want to sell the premises
How Does it Work?
Based on the laws of the State where the rental property is located, here are the six steps that legally explain how the eviction process works:
Try to negotiate the matter
As the landlord, once you have determined the problem or the lease violation, you must first approach your tenant to discuss the matter. Then, you can either communicate with them via email or text messages. The idea is to calmly approach the issue without chasing away your tenant. In most cases, the matter is usually resolved at this stage without needing an eviction notice.
Send the ejectment notice
If the first step has failed, you will need to start the ejectment by sending the tenant an eviction notice. You can send the eviction notice by certified mail (with return receipt), deliver it in person (hand-delivery), post it in a conspicuous place (such as on or underneath the tenant’s door), or through standard mail.
The most recommended method is sending it by Certified Mail with a Return Receipt by USPS, while the least recommended method is standard mail. This is because; using the former means you have proof that you sent the notice to quit document to the tenant. After sending the eviction notice, you will have to wait for the tenant to rectify the use within the period.
File the papers
If the allocated time in the notice to quit document has elapsed and the tenant has not rectified the violation, you can now go to your local county courthouse to file the papers required for the eviction process. To successfully file for the eviction against the tenant, this is what you will need:
- A copy of the return receipt
- Address and description of the property
- Reasons for the eviction
- Details of how and when the eviction notice was delivered to the tenant
- A statement of attorney fees being paid, if any
- If the issue is rent, provide details of all unpaid rent and dues at the time of filing
At this point, you will have to wait for the court to send a summon that instructs the tenant to be in court on a particular date.
Attend the court hearing
On the specified date, attend the court hearing. Ensure you go to court with the original lease agreement, payment records, and the notice to vacate letter. It is crucial to be prepared as the tenant might choose to defend themselves or appoint an attorney to represent them.
Obtain the judgment
Once you obtain the judgment that declares you the case winner, the court will most likely provide the tenant with time to vacate the premises. In case the provided time elapses and the tenant has not yet left your property, reach out to the Sherriff’s department, where you will be assigned an officer who will remove the tenant and their belongings from the premises by force.
Collect past due rent and court fee
If you win the case, apart from the tenant being asked to vacate your property, you will also be entitled to collect past due rent and court fees. The security deposit will remain in your possession to cover all your costs and losses. You can deal with the matter through small claims if the security deposit amount is insufficient. However, ensure that the money you want to collect is worth the time you will spend going through this process.
Tenant at Will Vs. Tenant at Sufferance
A tenant at will and a tenant at sufferance are two very different terms used to describe different situations in the eviction process. A Tenant at Will receives more protection in most States. The same cannot be said for a Tenant at Sufferance, whose situation is different from that of a tenant at will. This is because; a tenant at will usually has the landlord’s permission to stay on the premises and is therefore given advance notice of 30-days.
On the other hand, once a tenant at sufferance receives the eviction notice, they either get less time or no advanced notice from the landlord. The landlord expects them to leave the premises immediately since they are without permission.
For a tenant at will, you as the landlord can continue the month-to-month lease agreement if the tenant corrects the issue but must terminate the month-to-month rental contract with a tenant at sufferance.
Finally, a tenant at will can choose to leave your premises once the lease becomes invalid, but you must send an eviction notice to a tenant at sufferance for them to leave the premises.
For a tenant at will, in case the written lease has ended or expired, you can either terminate the lease or accept the rent and renew the lease. On the other hand, you should not accept rent from a tenant at sufferance as they must leave your property.
How to Write?
To write a proper eviction notice, ensure that you document answers to the questions: Who, Why, Where, What, and When. With these aspects in mind, you will have a complete and valid eviction notice you can send to your tenant to start the eviction process.
Below is a guide on how best to write your notice to quit document:
Ensure that your document starts by addressing the parties involved, the landlord and the tenant.
Landlord and tenant’s details (names, address, contact information)
As the landlord, you must identify yourself by including your full name. It would be best to establish that you are the party who sent the notice due to a severe lease violation. Ensure that you include your business address, which can be your mailing or physical address. Finally, include your contact details, such as your phone number and email address, for efficient and fast communication. Full names must be included on the part of the tenant(s).
This section should highlight the reason for the eviction, as discussed below. The four main reasons you might mention in your eviction notice include the following:
Your tenant has likely not paid their rent and is already past the due date. Ensure that you indicate the non-payment aspect and include the days they have to pay the amount or leave the premises. This section must define what you mean by the term overdue amount. This will be achieved by highlighting the “past rent” that should be paid and specifying the lease period for that amount.
Also, you should include the “penalty or late fees” required for the non-payment of fees. If any other charges are paid along with the rent that the tenant has not paid, ensure you include the amount in “other fees.” Finally, include the total amount required, the past rent, the late fees, and other fees. Ensure that you also include the payment instructions, including where to submit the payment, the acceptable payment method (certified check, wire transfer, etc.), and to whom the payment should be submitted.
In case of any identified illegal activity from the tenant, include details in this section with the number of days the tenant has to evict from your property. This type of illegal activity is defined by the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. In case the illegal activity is cited by the police, that means, it is a crime that involves the authority, ensure you clearly highlight this aspect. Also, include a copy of the police report and cite the police report’s file number.
A tenant’s non-compliance can also be a reason for you to evict them. Ensure you include the violation committed and the time the tenant has to resolve the issue or leave. You can include a direct quote from the lease agreement when describing the tenant’s non-compliance.
Month-to-month quit notice
If you, as the landlord, are currently in a month-to-month lease agreement and wish to end the arrangement, this is the reason you should provide in the eviction notice. In addition, ensure that you include the number of days that your tenant has to vacate the premises.
You must also include the address and physical location of the rental property from where you want to evict the tenant. Also, provide the room or apartment number alongside the street address if applicable to your property.
For this section, you need to mention all that can be done to fix the problem and ensure that the tenant fulfills their promise by adhering to the lease agreement.
Name and date of the original lease agreement
Ensure that you provide the name and the date of the original lease agreement you signed with the tenant. The lease should highlight the terms and conditions that the tenant violated or tenant(s) whose name(s) and signature(s) are present in the original lease.
Reference to the previous lease
Ensure you refer to the original lease to remind the tenant of the terms and conditions they agreed to. This provides a “cure” that the tenant should apply to correct the lease violation.
Statement of server
It is essential to include a statement from the individual who served the tenant with this eviction notice. In addition, they must identify themselves and acknowledge that they delivered the tenant’s notice.
Server delivery report
The method used to deliver the notice to the tenant for the server delivery report should be included. For example, if it is mail, the server must indicate the means used to deliver the mail.
Apart from the mail, other delivery methods that the server might have used include direct service (delivery by hand), leaving it at the tenant’s residence, or leaving it with a co-worker at the tenant’s workplace or leaving it at the residence in a conspicuous place.
The eviction notice must define when the tenant should leave or correct the lease violation.
This is the date when the notice is in effect and is what the court will consider as the first day of the time period provided in the eviction notice.
The landlord’s signature, printed name, and signature date must be included in the eviction notice to make the document legal. The signature date must be the current calendar date.
There are four types of eviction notice templates you can prepare, and they include:
- Notice to Pay ($) or Quit– It is also known as a late rent notice. You should prepare and send this notice to a tenant if they have not paid their rent and the due date stated in the lease agreement has passed. If any statutory grace period is included in the rental contract, ensure you send the notice only after that period has expired.
- Notice to Comply or Vacate (Lease Violation) – In case your tenant commits a lease violation, send them this notice and ask them to vacate or fix the problem. This notice deals with other violations, such as property damage, loud noise, long-term guests, smoking, and unauthorized pets, except for late rent. Your agreement with the tenant can continue if the issue is fixed within the timeframe.
- Illegal Activity– For this eviction notice, the termination of the lease agreement between you and the tenant happens immediately. This type of notice should only be sent if your tenant has performed an illegal activity on the premises, such as drug use, harassment, prostitution, stealing, and violence.
- Lease Termination (Month-to-Month Lease) – Finally, this type of eviction notice is prepared by you as the landlord to terminate a month-to-month tenancy with your renter. You can terminate this tenancy at any point during the lease term. However, the law requires you to give your tenant 30-day advance notice.
Below are types of eviction notices classified by the number of days you must provide to your tenant as the required notice period:
- 3-Day Notice– With this template, you will prepare an eviction notice that notifies the tenant of their violation, usually failure to pay rent, and ask them to comply or vacate the premises within 3 days. You can also send this notice for other infractions such as sound complaints, damage to the premises, property pets, and guests’ occupancy.
- 5-Day Notice– This notice to quit template is meant for tenants with the following infractions: failure to pay rent on time, wrong parking, property damage, and many more lease violations.
- 7-Day Notice– The 7-day notice targets tenants who have not paid their rent and other minor violations that can be “cured” within the 7 days. If it is a legal action, you can ask the tenant to leave within 7 days.
- 10-Day Notice– The 10-day notice is mainly used for a tenant who has failed to pay rent by the agreed-upon date. You can use this template to warn them about the violation.
- 14-Day Notice– This template requires a tenant to leave the premises or comply with the lease violation. If they choose to leave, this eviction notice will require them to pay the total amount based on the violations committed. Also, you can provide this notice in case a tenant has various violations and wants to terminate the lease contract. However, if the tenant’s issue is fixed within 14 days, the law states that the tenant can resume their rental agreement.
- 30-Day Notice– You should use this eviction notice if you wish to cancel a month-to-month lease agreement with a tenant.
- 60-Day Notice– With this template, you can end a month-to-month lease agreement with your tenant. Ensure that your agreement is a tenancy-at-will, where the tenant rents the property with no end date. With this notice, you can successfully inform the tenant of the end date of your contract by providing them with 60 days to leave the premises.
Illegal Self-Help Measures
As a landlord, you are not supposed to perform certain acts without obtaining permission from the court. Whether the tenant is actively damaging the property or committing a crime, it is illegal to resort to self-help measures to deal with the situation.
Some the illegal self-help measures you should not do include:
- Changing the locks
- Putting padlocks on the door
- Removing doors or windows
- Turning off the water or lights
- Removing the tenant’s furniture from the house
- Intimidating or harassing the tenant
- Physically removing the tenant by yourself
6 Alternate Ways to Avoid Costly Eviction Process
Instead of the costly eviction process of filing papers and attending the court hearing, there are 6 alternatives you can use to save money and time for both you and your tenant. Remember, each alternate way will require you to fill in specific forms to notify the tenant about the violation and what they need to do to rectify the issue.
Below are the 6 alternate ways to avoid the costly eviction process.
- Use a rental application document to access information about the tenant’s employment status, credit check, background details, financial ability, and references from previous landlords. This document allows you to screen a potential tenant thoroughly.
- Provide the tenant with a late rent notice every time their rent is late (past the due date).
- Prepare a notice of lease violation if there is an issue or a lease violation that the tenant must correct/fix.
- Use a notice of termination if you don’t plan to renew the lease with your tenant.
- Send a notice of rent increase to notify the tenant that you plan on raising the rent.
- Finally, use a landlord’s notice to enter the document to inform the tenant that you will be visiting the property for maintenance purposes or to inspect the premises. Ensure that this notice is given 24 hours in advance unless you deal with an emergency such as a fire or a water leak.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I allowed to evict tenants for not paying rent?
You are allowed to evict tenants for not paying rent provided you follow the legal process of first providing the tenant with an eviction notice. That means you should check your State and local laws before evicting a tenant.
Is it legal to give a 3-day Eviction Notice?
Although the minimum notice periods vary from State to State, giving a 3-day eviction notice is legal. Apart from States, the notice periods may vary based on the violation. Remember that the eviction notice period usually ranges between 3 to 30 days, with 3, 5, and 7 being the most common in most states.
Is it legal to provide more than the minimum notice?
It is legal to provide more than the minimum notice required by the law. This is because the period required in each State is the minimum; hence, as the landlord, you can provide your tenant with more than just the minimum notice period.
Can I evict month-to-month tenants?
Yes, you can evict a month-to-month tenant from your premises, with or without cause. However, you must provide them with a 30 to 60-day notice of termination. Also, ensure the lease did not extend into a new contract. If it has already extended, you will have to comply with the terms and conditions of the lease agreement.
Also, remember that if your rental property is in a rent-controlled location, you must have a cause for evicting your month-to-month tenant.
What kind of notice do I use for tenants who do not leave?
For holdover tenants who do not leave even after the lease agreement has expired, use the eviction notice asking them to vacate the premises. First, ensure that you have confirmed that the lease has expired or have provided them with a notice of non-renewal. This non-renewal document informs your tenant that you do not intend to continue with the lease.
If the tenant does not leave after the period provided elapses, start the eviction process by sending them a notice to quit. If you fail to start this process, the lease will automatically become a month-to-month lease for the same lease period as the original rental agreement.
Can I evict an individual tenant if multiple tenants are on the lease?
You cannot evict an individual tenant if multiple tenants are on the lease, as the court will not award you permission to evict them. This is because other tenants are still living on the property. Therefore, you must name all the tenants in your eviction notice to gain complete control of your property. Also, if it is just one tenant who is causing these issues, you can use an alternative way to resolve the matter. This way, you will avoid evicting all the tenants.
Do I have to hire an attorney to evict someone?
You can choose to hire or not to hire an attorney to evict someone. It depends on the situation and the type of eviction notice you need to draft. However, it is advisable to have an attorney representing you in court.
How much does it cost to evict a tenant?
While making an eviction notice is free, the other steps involved in the eviction process are expensive. For example, hiring an attorney or lawyer will cost you hundreds of dollars. In addition, court, server or certified mail fees must be paid. You will also need to pay for locksmith, movers, and storage costs.
What happens if a landlord evicts a tenant?
If you, as the landlord, evict a tenant, you will render them homeless, as the eviction record will make it harder for them to find housing. You will also affect their credit report for up to seven years.
How long does it take to evict someone?
It takes about 1 to 3 months to evict your tenant. The actual length of time depends on the State where your rental property is located and the required eviction notice period.
How many lease violations should landlords tolerate before evicting a tenant?
Two lease violations are enough for you as a landlord to start the eviction process. However, the eviction options available depend on your jurisdiction’s laws, nature of violations, and lease term. For instance, if the lease term is short, there is no need to waste time and money with a court process. Instead, you can inform the tenant that you do not intend to renew the agreement and wait for the term period to end.
If the issue with your tenant is a history of non-compliance, go ahead and consult the local authority for help. For this case, you will file for an eviction lawsuit, also known as an unlawful detainer. Away from these instances, the best thing to do after two or more violations is to send an eviction notice while observing the laws in your jurisdiction.
Does an eviction notice have to be notarized?
An eviction notice must be notarized in most jurisdictions, especially if you choose to attach a proof of service form. However, in other jurisdictions, there is no need to notarize this document.
How do I serve an eviction notice?
There are three most common ways you can use to serve an eviction notice. This is based on your local landlord and tenant authority. As the landlord, you can deliver it by hand, through certified mail (with a return receipt), or by email. The last method of serving the notice to quit document is not recommended unless the tenant agrees to receive it like that. When delivered in person (by hand), ensure that there is an objective third party who will witness the transaction in case your tenant says that they did not receive the document.