An eviction notice is a letter sent to a tenant by a landlord indicating an intent to terminate a lease agreement due to a specified violation. In most cases, it is issued when the tenant fails to pay their rent due within the period set in the leas agreement. From the time of receipt, the tenant has a specified number of days to either comply with the landlord's demands or vacate the property.
An eviction notice must provide specific reasons or violations committed by the tenant. There two types of eviction notices:
• Curable Notice: this notice gives the tenant a specified period to either remedy the issues raised by the landlord or vacate the landlord's property.
• Incurable Notice: this demands that the tenant vacates the landlord's property within the number of days specified in the letter without the option of remedying the violation.
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Importance of an Eviction Notice
An eviction notice, when prepared to meet the legal threshold, acts as a shield to the landlord in case of an eviction case in court. While there are other documents that are considered in eviction cases, the eviction notice is given more importance as it is the document initiating the whole process. A properly prepared eviction notice protects the landlord from tenants who might want to delay the process of vacating or refuse to take responsibility for damage done to the property. The earlier the landlord can legally take back possession of their property, the better it is for them.
Furthermore, an eviction notice ensures the tenant understands their non-compliance and the dissatisfaction of the landlord. In most cases, it'll give more pressure to the tenant to comply with the lease/rent agreement or come up with a compliance plan that is acceptable to the landlord. In many cases of "curable notice," tenants will comply with the eviction notice demands before the start of the eviction process.
Situations that can Lead to the Issuance of an Eviction Notice
The issuance of an eviction notice is the last step in the eviction process and there have been prior steps to make the tenant aware that something is amiss such as a pay and quit order. Here are some reasons why the eviction process is initiated by a landlord.
• Failure to pay rent
• Creating disturbances that affect other tenants
• Undertaking unpermitted activities within the premises
• Criminal activities within the premises
• Causing unacceptable damage to the property
• Lack of hygiene leading to the house being inhabitable
• Owning pets when the rent agreement has no pet's policy.
• The property is being taken off the rental market.
The eviction notice must be served to the tenant either physically or by mail to be considered valid. Check out this 3-minute overview by eForms to gain a better understanding of the Eviction Notice.
In case the letter does not meet the legal requirements to be considered valid, the landlord has to redo the whole process, and this may mean resetting the notice time given to the tenant.
The Purpose of an Eviction Notice
The eviction notice is an indicator to the tenant that the landlord is about to start a legal process against them if they don't remedy the issues raised or vacate the property within the specified period of time. This notice contains the landlord's grievances, which will be the basis of the legal action against the recipient. It is an expression of the landlords' dissatisfaction or inability to continue abiding with the Lease or Rental or agreement. However, the legal process only starts if the recipient doesn't respond appropriately within the time specified.
There are two outcomes after the tenant is served with a valid notice. The tenant may remedy the issue that has been raised by the landlord, also known as curing the violation. In case of failure to pay the rent due, they may clear the outstanding debt or come up with a payment plan that the landlord finds acceptable. Secondly, the tenant can ignore the eviction notice with a play to fight eviction legally when it gets to that stage. They may also ignore it to buy time before the actual eviction occurs. The letter is one of the critical documents that is presented as evidence in case the dispute between the tenant and the landlord escalates to a case being argued before a judge.
Contents of an Eviction Notice
The contents of an eviction notice may vary from state to state. However, the following parts are common to all notices.
- Address of the property: It should contain detailed information about the property being leased or rented. This should be the same information that is contained in the lease or rental agreement that the tenant had signed.
- Date of notice: The date of the notice is important as it evidences that the lease or rent agreement was violated before the notice was issued. A notice prepared before the rent is due would make the cause it to be invalid in case the dispute is rent-related.
- Tenant's name: the name of the tenant or tenants who signed the lease or inherited the terms of the lease/rent agreement after the lease/rent agreement was updated.
- Dates of the rent/lease agreement: this is the date when the rent/lease agreement came into effect.
- Reasons for the issuance of Eviction Notice: you must ensure that the reasons given are legal within your jurisdiction. Also, ensure that the reason given is detailed and accurate.
- Date by which the tenant must vacate the property: Ensure that you know the minimum number of days that are required by the law in that State. The days to the date specified by which the tenant should vacate must equal to or above the minimum days allowed by the law.
- Proof of notice delivery: an eviction notice must be delivered via a method considered to be valid under that jurisdictions' law.
As a landlord, you may be curious at this point how to evict an erring tenant and what the eviction process entails. This guide is the final part of a trio of guides by ExecOS Resources featuring different parts of the process towards evicting a tenant. Check out our prior guides on Pay Rent or Quit Notices and Notice to Vacate. If you haven't performed those parts of the eviction process required by your state.
If you have barely scratched the surface of the Eviction Process, check out this brief guide on how to evict a tenant by HowCast.
What happens after the eviction notice is issued?
After a curable notice has been issued, the landlord waits for communication from the tenant. The tenant can remedy all the issues at once or can contact the landlord to propose a plan to remedy the issues. This can be an extension of payment days or an amendment to the lease/rent agreement meant to accommodate a new arrangement.
In case of an incurable notice, the landlord expects the tenant to vacate the property before the given date. A tenant has no other option but to leave if they wish to avoid an eviction process. However, they can contact the landlord to get an extension on the number of days to the lapse of the eviction notice period.
Canceling an Eviction Notice
As you've already seen above, an eviction is a declaration of intention of the landlord to take back possession of their property from the tenant. As a first step towards an eviction process that can be lengthy, it is important that both parties understand the weight of the notice and the available options. While most evictions do not result in an eviction, those that do require that all set-out procedures, as set out by the law, are followed to the letter. The legal process of evicting someone is lengthy and can be significantly expensive to the landlord as well as the tenant.
However, an eviction process started by an eviction notice can be stopped by the cancellation of the eviction notice. Ways of canceling or withdrawing an eviction notice:
- When a tenant complies with all the demands set out in the eviction notice, and this is communicated to the issuer of the notice. For instance, if the rent due has been cleared and stated as a condition for the rent/lease agreement to remain in effect, the notice is effectively considered canceled.
2. When the tenant reaches an agreement with the landlord to restructure the current rent/lease agreement after the notice has been issued, this effectively nullifies the issued outstanding eviction notice as the rent/lease agreement it's based is nullified.
3. Landlord cancels it at their own discretion. The landlord has the power to cancel an eviction notice without any input from the tenant.
4. A court can cancel an eviction notice for failure to comply with the law. A tenant can apply for the court to stop the eviction after the lapse of set notice days because it violates their rights as tenants or it fails to meet the set out legal threshold. In this case, the court considers the whole eviction process to ensure that the notice is valid under the law. If it is found to be defective, the eviction process is stopped, and the tenant is allowed to continue residing at the property. However, this is only temporary as the landlord can issue another eviction notice, thereby signaling the eviction process's restart.
5. Issuance of a government directive stopping evictions. For instance, a government can stop evictions in order to mitigate a medical or economic crisis in the country. This effectively cancels all eviction notices within the affected jurisdictions for the period specified by the order.
Tips on Preparing and Issuing of an Eviction Notice
An eviction process is unpleasant for many landlords, but it is necessary sometimes in order for one to take back possession of their property. As stated earlier, the process can be lengthy, leading to loss of revenue and time. It should, therefore, be avoided where it is possible to resolve outstanding issues without an eviction process starting. A well-detailed lease can be very effective in reducing potential areas of conflict within the duration of the tenancy. Below are some more tips on how to handle situations requiring an eviction notice:
Consult a legal professional while drafting an eviction notice. An eviction process needs to meet very strict guidelines, and a violation of a single step cancels the whole process. To ensure you meet the strict guidelines, engage someone who is experienced in this field, and understand the process and proper document preparation.
- Save a copy of an eviction notice. It is very important you save a copy of the eviction notice as softcopy in a safe environment such as execos.com. This will ensure you can easily access it as one of the eviction process documents on demand.
- Follow all the procedures while preparing and delivering the eviction notice. Ensure that the address, date, and other details are accurate before delivering the notice to the tenant. Know the peculiarities of eviction law in your state. Check out this brief video guide by Fast Evict to see distinct nuances in eviction law in California and how you can avoid similar pitfalls when you apply this guide.
3. Beware that some agreements reached with the tenant can lead to the notice being nullified, thereby leading to a delay in you taking possession back of the property.
4. An eviction process must start with a valid eviction notice. Failure to follow the eviction process set out by the law can lead to a tenant successfully suing the landlord for damages.
Eviction Notice FAQs
Does the tenant have to move out after the lapse of the notice period?
No, they don't have to move out. They have three options at this stage, remedy the situation that gave rise to the eviction notice, move out, or the landlord moves through the court process of eviction. Cutting off utilities, locking the property, or frustrating the tent to leave is considered illegal.
Can the landlord and the tenant negotiate to resolve the issues that gave rise to the eviction notice?
Yes, this is the most amicable solution, and most people go for it. If it is a curable issue at hand, it is advisable to negotiate and come to an understanding of how to resolve it. If no understanding arises, then the eviction process can follow, or the tenant vacates the property. It is inevitable at times to be at odds with the tenant you are evicting. Check out this 3-minute guide on how to avoid disputes with your tenant as they move out by Rent Like a Pro.
How much notice must I give the tenant?
The length of notice varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Always consult the applicable local laws before giving the notice.
I have written a notice to quit and an eviction notice to my tenant, yet they haven't responded. What should I do?
These documents are not enough to evict a tenant, but they will be useful when you initiate the official eviction process. They serve as evidence of the landlord's intention to terminate the lease.
What is the difference between an eviction notice and an eviction order?
An eviction notice is written by the landlord to the tenant detailing the grounds on which they want to evict a tenant. It doesn't have to end with an eviction as the issue can be cured. An eviction order is given by court or a tribunal after both parties have been heard. A tenant must leave the property after being served with an eviction order.
I received an Eviction Notice in the middle of COVID-19. What do I do?
The eviction moratorium is no longer in place and it is very unfortunate that many tenants across the United States are receiving eviction notices and notices to vacate in the middle of a pandemic. ABC Houston has done a feature on the experience of people who have received such notices and how they have resolved them.
It is wise for tenants who are unable to pay to seek assistance from organizations offering rent relief plans. However, the best thing to do is to talk to your landlord and see what arrangements can be done in order for you to continue to stay at your place during these trying times. More often than not, communication and the commitment to help them earn as well is what your landlord is after.
An eviction notice communicates the landlord's intent to have outstanding issues with the tenant resolved or to take back possession of their property. In short, sometimes it serves to communicate the tenant's violation of an agreement, while in other cases, it requires the tenant to vacate for no fault on their end. This is called a no-fault eviction notice and will, in most cases, be issued when the landlord wants to repurpose or renovate the property. No matter the cause of the eviction notice, it maintains the same format, and all notice related laws will apply uniformly. The laws dictating days to vacate and the valid mode of delivery vary from State-to-State. Therefore, always research the laws applying to their jurisdiction before issuing an eviction notice.