Being a landlord means having to do some tough tasks, one of which is evicting a tenant. Even though you are the owner of the property, you are not allowed to evict a tenant due to personal causes, such as your dislike for their favorite show or that they did not wish your son on his third birthday.
Instead, you can only evict your tenants for reasons considered legal by your state or city’s landlord-tenant laws. Although these laws differ from state to state, some of the more common reasons for tenant eviction are:
1) Illegal usage of property:
If the tenant is using your property in an illegal manner, you can file to get that tenant evicted.
Illegal use of property includes conducting business (legal or illegal), since the property was rented solely for residential use. For instance, if a tenant is operating a saloon or a day care out of their rented unit, they will be opening themselves – and you – up for punitive damages since the property is not designed for – nor meets the criteria of – business use. So, if a customer or child were to get injured, your tenant – and, by extension, the landlord – could find themselves staring at a lawsuit.
Hence, if the landlord finds the tenant illegally using the rented property, they can issue serve a ‘Notice to Quit’ before filing for eviction.
2) Safety or Health Violation:
If you are aware of a health or safety requirement which the rented property is violating, the landlord can evict a tenant in order to remedy that violation – if it cannot be remedied while the tenant is still residing on your property. An example of such a safety or health violation would include property that needs to be treated for lead paint hazards.
In such cases, the landlord will have to present a Notice to Quit to the tenant well in advance so that the tenant has sufficient time to find another residence. For example, the state of New Jersey requires landlords to give a minimum of three months before filing for eviction. The tenant is also required to provide eviction assistant to tenants being requested to evict under such circumstances – until the tenants have successfully relocated, the eviction will not come into effect.
3) Owner moving in:
If the owner decides to move into his rental property, they can file for the current tenant’s eviction. Furthermore, if you are currently residing in the property alongside the tenant, you can file for eviction if you have a family member who wants to move in with you.
Rules regarding this situation differ between states. For instance, some states do not allow you to evict a tenant under such circumstances if they have been residing in your property for a minimum of 10 years or are disabled. In certain states, you cannot file for eviction during a school year, if your tenant has children.
4) Refusal to pay legally increased rent:
Almost all states allow landlords to legally increase rent by a specific percentage every year, as long as this is included in the rental agreement. Landlords have the right to file for eviction if their tenants refuse to abide by this legal increase in rent.
To conclude, an understanding of the basic causes for eviction will allow landlords and tenants to protect their rights and fulfill their obligations.