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 March 07, 2022

4 Valid Reasons a Landlord Can Evict a Tenant

Eviction Notice next to a set of keys

Eviction is not something any landlord wants to pursue. Understanding the legal eviction process—including writing an eviction letter can be a job unto itself. It’s enough to make landlords look the other way on minor violations. After all, the issue must be greater than the temporary loss of income and hassle of going through the eviction process and finding a new tenant. However, there are still valid reasons to evict a tenant. If you are a landlord, and unsure of what you can and can’t do, here are the main reasons you can use to evict.

The 4 most common reasons for eviction

1. Tenant violates the lease or rental agreement

Your lease is a binding contract. You must honor it. And so must your tenants. All activities prohibited in the lease can serve as reasons for eviction. These can range from keeping an unapproved cat to using the residence as a nail salon. Obviously, not every offense will be cause for eviction. That secret cat might be such a case. The not-so-secret nail salon might warrant removal, especially since it may also violate zoning ordinances. Whatever the case, it is up to you to decide how to handle each violation. For tenants who don’t have a written lease, you could experience an entirely new set of legal issues, like verbal leases and squatter’s rights. If you are evicting a tenant without a lease, it is best to consult with your provider lawyer.

2. Tenant does not pay rent on time

The exchange of money for living space is the bedrock of your lease and provides clear legal grounds to evict a tenant. But there is a difference between the occasional late payment, continued late payment, and failure to pay at all. The former can mean the tenant pays rent plus late fees within a provided period. The latter two may lead to eviction. As with other lease violations, your discretion is key. You decide how many late payments or non-payments justify eviction.

3. Tenant damages the property

Everyday wear-and-tear is expected during the term of any rental, but severe damage is certainly one of the reasons a landlord can evict. Remember, this is different from damage caused by a natural disaster or unexpected malfunction, like an earthquake or a burst pipe. But if the damage is intentional or caused by gross negligence, you can seek eviction along with repayment, beyond what a security deposit might cover. Be sure to take pictures of all the harm done, which can be presented as evidence at the eviction hearing. And be sure to collect that security deposit upfront, so you have insurance against a potential problem like this.

4. Tenant uses property for illegal purposes

If you can evict a tenant for using their residence as a nail salon, you most certainly can evict if they are using it to run an illegal business. Any illegal enterprise leaves a landlord vulnerable to all sorts of liability and can harm the value of the property itself. So, it is best to act quickly and cautiously. Your suspicions are not evidence, and privacy rights prevent you from collecting that evidence on your own. A police arrest report would provide all the cause you need, but short of that, it is best to talk to a landlord lawyer near you about how to proceed.

FAQs for reasons to evict a tenant

What is the most common reason for eviction?
The most common reason for eviction is non-payment of rent, which includes late payments as well as bounced checks.

On what grounds can a landlord evict you?
There are four main reasons to evict someone: non-payment of rent, property damage, use of the property for illegal reasons, and lease violations like unapproved pets or using the residence as a place of business. If you do not have a written lease and face eviction, you should consult with a lawyer. If you are the landlord in this scenario, you should do the same.

Can a landlord evict you for no reason?
No. Personal bias or a desire to simply vacate the property are not valid reasons to evict someone. The cause must justify taking such drastic action and be in accordance with the local laws governing eviction.

Speak to an expert about the legal grounds for eviction

Eviction shouldn’t be taken lightly nor performed without the knowledge of the precise process. No matter what side of the eviction process you find yourself, you should speak with a knowledgeable laywer. A LegalShield provider lawyer can offer consultation and document review, all at the price of a monthly subscription. Learn more about how a LegalShield membership helps with your legal needs.

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