Creating an Eviction Notice Form | What You Should Consider
The key to a healthy lease is for both parties involved to follow all the terms stated in the lease agreement.
Unfortunately, there are some cases where the tenant may not comply with one or several clauses in the agreement.
In these cases, the landlord can start an eviction process by sending a notice.
Eviction notices, in general, will be sent to the tenant right after a lease violation, and they will have the choice to either "fix" the problem or leave the rental property.
Eviction notices can vary depending on the state, but in essence, they serve the same purpose.
Today, we'll walk you through everything surrounding lease violations and how the standard eviction process works.
On the other hand, if you're looking for free eviction notice forms to make things easier, feel free to check DoorLoop's rental forms to find any resource you need.
What's an Eviction Notice?
First, let's address what's an eviction. An eviction is considered a "legal process," which involves removing a person from a rental property.
Now, why would you evict a tenant? There are many reasons. Most of the time, tenants get evicted because they don't pay rent.
However, even if the tenant did pay rent, any other lease violation can cause the landlord to start an eviction process.
As mentioned before, there are different rules for evictions in each state, so landlords must ensure they're following the law if they want to avoid legal problems in the future.
A general rule applicable to every state, for example, states that landlords can't physically remove their tenant from the unit. Some of these measures include:
- Changing the locks to the unit
- Sending threats
- Sending someone to remove the tenant (unless it's a law enforcement officer)
There are two types of evictions you can consider:
A "curable notice" will give the tenant some days to comply with the rule they broke or "cure" the lease violations they did.
If the tenant doesn't pay rent, for example, the landlord can send a notice to "Pay Rent or Quit."
Tenants who fail to pay rent after this period may get evicted right away.
Here, there's no option for the tenant to "cure" their lease violations. If they receive an incurable notice, they must leave within the specified period, which can vary depending on the type of lease.
In either case, landlords need a court order before they can evict their tenant legally. If the tenant fails to move out after the notice period, the landlord can send a sheriff to remove them and any belongings they had.
What Is Considered a Lease Violation?
A lease violation is any circumstance in which the person renting (tenant) doesn't comply with the original conditions of a lease agreement.
Now, how many lease violations can landlords tolerate before evicting their tenants? It depends on the person. Some landlords may start their eviction case as soon as they see the first violation.
However, it's always recommended to wait until the landlord sends two or more lease violation notices so that the tenant fixes the problem. If they don't, then the landlord can start the legal proceedings.
Keep in mind that the circumstances may be different for each case. It's always recommended that landlords consider how much time the lease has left and the severity of the problem.
While missed rent payments are a nuisance, court fees can also add up, and these legal proceedings could take some time.
On the other hand, if the tenant has a history of non-compliance, landlords can go to the authorities so that they can help solve the issue in the best way possible.
Sometimes, the best course of action is to file an unlawful detainer, which is also known as an eviction lawsuit.
What Are the Different Types of Eviction Notices?
Let's expand on the different "types of notice." As mentioned before, there are many reasons why a landlord would want to break the rental agreement, and not all reasons are due to the tenant's fault.
Let's take a look at common scenarios where a landlord may want to end the rental agreement:
Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
Unpaid rent is one of the most common reasons why landlords choose to evict their tenants. Under most lease agreements, both the landlord and tenant specify an amount and date to pay rent, so not doing it is considered a violation.
Overall, a notice to "Pay Rent or Quit" will give the tenant a chance to pay rent during the specified notice periods. If they fail to do it, then they must leave the property.
It's vital to note that some landlords are allowed to charge late fees for unpaid rent, so the tenant may have to pay for those too.
Notice of Violation of the Lease
Here, the landlord could send a notice to the tenant if they broke any of the terms in the lease agreement.
If the tenant has a pet on the property, for example, and the landlord specified they couldn't have pets on the property, then they could receive a notice.
As with the notice to "Pay Rent or Quit," this type of notice is considered one to "Cure or Quit." The tenant has the chance to fix the problem if they want to avoid getting evicted.
Notice of Termination of Lease
Not all lease agreements have to end because of a violation. If the lease agreement is one that automatically renews, the landlord can send a notice if they don't want to renew it again.
The notice periods, in this case, will depend on the type of lease both parties were working with and the local housing laws.
Notice to Quit
Landlords send a "Notice to Quit" when they want to remove a tenant for any other reason that wasn't their fault.
The landlord may do this when they want to:
- Move into the property.
- Renovate the property.
- Sell the property.
- Or any other valid reason.
Make sure you follow your state's applicable laws before sending a notice to quit, as not all reasons may be valid where you live.
Moreover, whenever you download eviction notice templates, you must ensure they follow your local laws.
Difference Between Tenants at Will and Tenants at Sufferance
You already know that if the tenant fails to comply with your notice after you send it, you can institute legal proceedings to get them out.
However, keep in mind that some states can give protection to certain tenants, particularly "Tenants at Will."
A "Tenant at Will" is a person that stays on your property with your permission. If you gave them permission to stay, then the state will give them a longer notice period.
On the other hand, holdover tenants (or "Tenants at Sufferance") don't have that many protection measures from the state. As opposed to a tenant at will, a holdover tenant is someone who stays in your property without your permission, so they will get less time to move out.
In some cases, the landlord may not even have to send a notice to quit before starting legal proceedings with their local court.
Now, what makes a "Tenant at Will"? Here's a brief outline:
- There wasn't a specified expiration date for the rent.
- The current lease was invalid in any way.
- The written lease expired but the landlord gave the tenant permission to stay as long as they pay rent.
On the contrary, holdover tenants can't stay under any of those circumstances if they don't have the landlord's permission.
Can You Evict a Tenant If They Don't Pay Rent?
In most cases, you should be able to send an eviction notice to your tenant for non-payment of rent. Some states have certain protections for tenants due to the pandemic.
On the other hand, all state and municipal governments can impose their own laws for evictions. The best thing you can do before sending an eviction notice is to contact an attorney and ask.
Now, it's critical you keep in mind that there are certain scenarios where a tenant may be legally allowed to withhold rent even if you send an eviction notice.
In some states, tenants can legally deduct or withhold rent if their landlord doesn't meet their obligations to keep the property habitable. If you feel you're complying with all your obligations, and the tenant doesn't follow your eviction notice, you may want to talk with a lawyer to sort things out.
Is Evicting a Tenant Free?
Technically, you can send a free eviction notice to your tenant whether it's a notice to pay rent or a notice to quit.
However, keep in mind that there are many other fees you may have to pay during the eviction process, including court and attorney fees.
Depending on the case, the total costs for evicting your tenant could range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, which is why it's recommended to try to solve the issue first before sending an eviction notice.
As for the future, we recommend you invest in improved tenant screening measures so that you avoid problems with any other tenant later.
Do You Need an Eviction Notice?
Having a tenant who doesn't follow the terms of the lease can be one of the most frustrating things to experience.
However, it's highly recommended to be patient and not remove the tenant without following the standard procedures for evictions.
First, make sure you document all your communications with your tenant if possible. Additionally, make sure you seek legal counsel to ensure you're doing everything "by the book."
There are many illegal eviction measures you can't do, including:
- Changing the locks of the property without a court order.
- Turning off the utilities.
- Entering the unit without notice.
If you do any of that, the court may rule in favor of the tenant.
Another thing to consider is excessive calls and messages. No matter how frustrated you are, avoid calling or texting the tenant excessively or making threats. The tenant could document all of that and then use it in court to prove harassment.
Considering all of what we previously mentioned, we highly recommend serving an eviction notice the right way. In essence, what you have to do involves:
- Document every scenario where the tenant didn't comply with the lease terms.
- Set a future date for the tenant to "cure" or fix the problem.
- Provide a warning that states you will take legal action if they don't comply.
Keep in mind you should draft a written eviction notice even if you have an oral lease. While oral leases can prove to be a problem in the future, it's always best to leave as much as you can in writing.
How Much Notice Should You Give Your Tenant?
It depends on several factors, such as your state's regulations, the violation, and the lease type.
Some states, for example, don't require landlords any notice period before evicting their tenant, although it's still recommended to follow the legal eviction process.
Notice periods can range from three to 60 days. Week-to-week leases, for example, may warrant a seven-day eviction notice. On the other hand, a month-to-month tenancy may ask for 30 or 60 days of notice.
If you're sending a notice to pay rent or quit, you must first evaluate the maximum period for "overdue rent." You must wait until that period ends before sending the eviction notice.
In any case, the best way to know your options is to contact an attorney who can walk you through your state's laws.
Keep in mind that, even though there are some particular periods for an eviction notice, you can typically provide more time if you want.
Tenants could try to negotiate with their landlord to delay the legal proceedings under special circumstances. If the landlord approves the negotiation, then they can wait before serving the final eviction notice.
Do You Need to Hire an Attorney to Evict a Tenant?
Not necessarily. You could download a sample eviction notice document, fill it out with the required information, and send it. However, if you don't know your state's laws, you may have issues later, as not all templates or samples have state-specific clauses.
If this is the first time you're sending an eviction notice, for example, we recommend you seek legal counseling with a lawyer, as they will help you navigate the process much easier.
There are many other scenarios that could affect the circumstances of your eviction notice, such as rent-controlled apartments. In any case, hiring a lawyer could be a good investment, depending on the case.
What Can You Do If You Have Multiple Tenants in Your Lease?
In most cases, you either send an eviction notice to all your tenants or don't send it to anyone. Typically, the court will not grant you full possession of your unit unless you name all of the tenants living there in your eviction notice process.
With that being said, theoretically, you can't evict a single tenant if you have several in your unit. However, there's an exception:
If a particular tenant is causing any problems to the property, the neighbors, or the other tenants living there, you may have permission to send an eviction notice to them and pursue other legal measures.
In these cases, it's highly recommended to work with a lawyer, as they tend to be more complex than others involving a single tenant.
Sample Eviction Notice | Learn the Basics
Creating an eviction notice isn't as hard as it seems. All you have to do is ensure you follow your state's applicable laws or use eviction forms to help yourself.
Generally speaking, your eviction notice must address:
- Who it applies to
- Why you want to evict them
- Where the eviction is happening
- What you want the tenant to do to fix or (cure) the problem
- When the tenant should fix the problem
Let's outline the most common clauses you must include in your eviction notice:
Tenant and Property Information
State the tenant's basic contact information. You should find this information in the original lease agreement.
Then, enter all your property details, including its address, unit/room/apartment number, and other necessary information. This should be the property you're evicting the tenant from.
Lease Agreement References
Enter the general information surrounding the original lease and what the problem was. This includes:
- Name and date of the original lease
- Past due rent dates and amounts (if applicable)
- Lease violations (if applicable)
- Late fees (if applicable)
- Any other reason for terminating the lease
In this part, you will address how the tenant can (cure) or fix the problem. If the problem was unpaid rent, for example, then you can set a date and method for the tenant to pay.
On the other hand, if you're not offering the tenant the option to pay or cure, then you can avoid this part.
State Law References and Landlord Information
Specify that your notice abides by applicable state law, including the specific section numbers and regulation names. Then, enter all your information as a landlord, which includes:
- Contact Information
- Date of Signature
Proof of Service
The proof of service will serve as proof that you sent the eviction notice to the tenant. This must include:
- Method of Delivery
- Date of Delivery
Including the proof of service is critical, as it will ensure you're sending the notice within the specified legal requirements. Otherwise, your tenant could challenge your notice on a technicality.
While most jurisdictions don't require eviction notices to be notarized, we recommend you do it if you're attaching a "proof of service" clause.
Finally, include a space for the server or any other person delivering the notice to sign it. This includes the person's print name, date, and signature. If you're the person delivering the notice, then this should include your information.
On the other hand, if you're sending the notice via mail, make sure you do it through a registered post service, which already provides receipts and proof of delivery clauses.
Some states may ask you to send the notice to a third party for review before sending it to the tenant, so make sure you review your state's laws first.
How Long Will It Take to Evict a Tenant?
It depends on the case and the state. Typically, the process will take anywhere from one to three months.
Some states require lower notice periods, such as a three-day notice. In these cases, you may take less time to evict the person, as long as they comply and don't challenge your eviction process.
Make sure you follow your current state's regulations to ensure you're sending the right amount of notice. The slightest mistake could delay the process by a significant amount of time.
Evicting your tenant can be overwhelming, which is why it's always recommended to try and solve the problem before taking legal action.
If you decide to start your process for eviction today, make it easier by either hiring a lawyer or downloading a form. DoorLoop has a section where you can download all the rental forms you need for your property, including eviction forms.
We hope this article has helped you understand evictions in depth!