What Are the Steps to a Tenant Eviction?

To evict a tenant, a landlord must deliver a notice of termination to terminate the lease, then file an unlawful detainer lawsuit. After winning the suit, the landlord must pay a fee to local law enforcement and provide the authorities with the judgement. Local law enforcement then leaves a notice with the tenant specifying when they intend to physically remove the tenant if he has failed to vacate the premises.

There are three types of notices of termination, only one of which leads asks the tenant to leave on a specified date no matter what. A notice to pay rent or quit allows the tenant to pay rent owed in order to remain on the property. A notice to cure or quit informs the tenant that he is in violation of the lease in some way, but can fix that violation and remain. An unconditional quit notice is filed when the tenant must leave on the specified date or face an unlawful detainer lawsuit.

The eviction process may differ slightly according to state laws. For example, in states that are more tenant-friendly, the eviction process can take months to complete. In many states, however, the process only takes a few weeks after the tenant overstays the quit notice date.