If you’re renting to a tenant who has violated the lease or failed to pay rent, you may need to send an eviction notice. We’ll take you through everything you need to know, including types of eviction notices and how to send them.
What’s an Eviction Notice?
An eviction notice, or an eviction letter, is a legal document that landlords use to evict tenants for not complying with the original terms of the lease or rental agreement.
The notice officially states:
- The tenant must fix or “cure” the problem at hand;
- The tenant must move out by a specific date;
- The tenant and landlord may need to go to court to continue the eviction process.
An eviction notice begins the eviction process, which varies widely state-by-state.
You can send your tenant an eviction notice for most lease violations. To ensure you’re evicting your tenant for the right reasons, consult your state’s rules and regulations for eviction.
What are other names for an eviction notice?
Each state may use a different name for an eviction notice. See the chart below for a few variations.
|Issue: Failure to Pay Rent||Issue: Lease Violation or Lease Expired|
|Demand Notice for Nonpayment of Rent||Demand for Compliance|
|Demand for Possession||Notice of Termination|
|Demand for Payment of Rent||Notice of Intention to Vacate|
|Demand for Past Due Rent||Notice to Cease|
|Notice to Vacate||Notice to Cure Default|
|Notice to Pay Rent||Notice to Cure Violation|
|Notice to Terminate Lease for Failure to Pay Rent||Notice to Demand for Possession|
|Notice of Intention to Evict||Notice to Leave the Premises|
|Notice to Quit Premises||Notice to Quit|
|Notice of Termination for Nonpayment of Rent||Notice to Quit Possession|
|Notice to Leave Premises||Notice to Vacate|
How Does an Eviction Notice Work?
The landlord delivers a written eviction notice to the tenant in accordance with state law. If the tenant doesn’t fix the problem or move out, the landlord can file a lawsuit to evict the tenant. In court, a judge will hear the case and decide whether the tenant can stay.
The following graphic shows a roadmap describing the process from start to finish:
How to Send an Eviction Notice
You can send an eviction notice by downloading an eviction letter and serving (delivering) it to the tenant according to your state’s requirements — usually by certified mail with a return receipt or hand-delivering the eviction notice to the tenant in person. These methods are the safest way to make sure the tenant cannot dispute whether they received the eviction notice.
The Most Common Reasons for Sending an Eviction Notice
The most common reasons for sending your tenant an eviction notice are:
- Unpaid Rent: failure to pay rent on time
- Lease Violation: damaged property (such as waste or mold buildup), constant noise (“nuisance”)
- End a Month-to-Month Lease: landlord wants to end a month-to-month or at will rental
- Lease Expired: staying after the lease expires, is canceled, or is terminated (holdover)
- Unwanted Roommate: landlord no longer wants to live with a friend or family member
- Illegal Activity: tenant engages in unlawful or criminal activity on the premises (such as drug dealing)
Do I Need to Send an Official Eviction Notice? What Happens if I Don’t?
Yes, an official eviction notice gives the tenant a proper note of the eviction and formally begins the eviction process.
You may also face the following consequences if you decide to take matters into your own hands instead of sending an official eviction notice:
- Pay for damages incurred by the tenant, such as the cost of temporary housing
- Pay penalties since some states require landlords to pay up to $100 per day for unlawful self-help
- Pay for damages you’ve incurred such as attorney fees to defend yourself from an illegal eviction
- Personal time to attend court
- Delaying the eviction process
What happens if I don’t send the eviction notice properly?
If a landlord doesn’t follow the proper procedures for delivering the notice, the tenant can challenge the eviction process and force the landlord to re-start the whole process. This is why you need to consult your local housing laws to evict a tenant properly.
Ways Eviction Notices Can Be Considered Unlawful
Eviction notices can be unlawful if they fall under the following categories:
- Retaliatory Eviction: It’s illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant for reporting a housing code violation to the building inspector.
- Implied Warranty of Habitability: The landlord must provide livable premises and provide necessities such as heat and running water.
- Excessive Rent: A landlord may not ask for more rent than is actually agreed upon and due.
- Lease Has Not Ended: If the tenant has not violated the lease or engaged in illegal activity, a landlord can not ask the tenant to leave prematurely before the end of the lease.
- Domestic Violence: Neighbors may be troubled by the excessive fighting, noise, or police presence caused by fighting within a home, but a landlord may not be able to evict victims of domestic violence, depending on state and local laws.
- Unfair Discrimination: Federal law protects tenants from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, family status, and disability. Some states expand these protections and prevent landlords from discriminating based on marital status, sexual orientation, and military or veteran status.
Tips on Avoiding Eviction Notice Costs and Issues
If you can resolve the problem with your tenant, you won’t need to use an eviction notice. For instance, if the tenant is late paying rent, you can ask why and try to understand the tenant’s situation. Consider working out a payment plan for missed payments.
If you’re considering evicting a tenant due to damage caused to the premises, find out if the tenant is willing to pay for the cost of repairs. This way, you can avoid the hassle and expense of evicting the tenant and maintain a good relationship.
How Much is an Eviction Notice?
It costs nothing to create your eviction letter, but you may need to pay the cost of certified mail delivery to serve the notice to your tenant.
If the eviction goes to court, the average fees will be anywhere from $50 to $200 or more, depending on your state and the case’s specifics.
Where to get a free eviction notice template
You can download our blank eviction letter, which contains all the clauses you need to start writing your eviction letter.
Alternatively, you can use our eviction notice form builder to generate a complete eviction letter by answering simple prompts.
Related Questions / FAQs
It depends on what state you’re in and your reason for evicting the tenant. You need to give the tenant the proper number of days’ notice required by your state, depending upon the nature of their violation.
While the notice is not a court order to leave, do not ignore it. An eviction notice allows the landlord to start the eviction process in court if the tenant cannot resolve the problem and comply with the lease agreement.
The landlord must receive a court order or judgment from the court to make you leave.
If you receive an eviction notice, try the following immediately:
- Talk with your landlord and come to a mutual understanding.
- Hire a private attorney.
- Contact government agencies and offices for helpful landlord-tenant services.
The fastest way to evict a tenant is to follow the correct legal procedure from the beginning, so you don’t wind up in a lengthy lawsuit. Make sure you have evidence of the tenant’s violation and deliver the notice as quickly as possible. Create your eviction notice using our builder or download a free template to get started.
You don’t need a lawyer to evict a tenant. However, you may consider hiring a lawyer to help you if:
- This is your first eviction
- The tenant is filing for bankruptcy
- The tenant is against the eviction and has a lawyer