How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
A legal eviction order, known as a “Writ of Restitution,” can be obtained if a tenant fails to vacate a dwelling, pay rent on time, or correct issues such as damages or nuisances. The landlord may only take legal action after properly serving the tenant with a three (3) or thirty (30) day Notice to Quit. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, the landlord may seek restitution by filing a complaint with the district court.
Step 1 – Notice of Eviction
The type of notice you serve to the tenant varies depending on the reason for the eviction. From the following list, select the notice type which matches your eviction circumstance:
30-Day Notice to Quit – Used to terminate a month-to-month lease/rental agreement.
3-Day Notice to Quit – Used when a tenant is noncompliant with the rules and regulations of their lease/rental agreement.
3-Day Notice to Quit – Used for the non-payment of rent.
A tenant may be evicted without notice if they engage in illegal drug activity on the premises of the rental unit (§ 6-303(5)).
Step 2 – Serve Notice to Tenant
Complete the notice and deliver it to the tenant in person. If the tenant cannot be found at their residence or place of business, you must mail a copy of the notice to the individual’s address and leave a copy with a competent person at either address.
If neither of the above service options are possible, a copy of the notice shall be left in a conspicuous location on the property, and a copy shall be delivered to a resident of the building (if possible). Furthermore, you must mail a copy of the notice to the tenant at the address where the property is located.
Step 3 – Complete Court Forms
If the notice period expires and the tenant fails to comply with their lease/rental agreement, pay rent, or leave the dwelling, you may begin the eviction process by filing an Unlawful Detainer action. The court forms necessary for this process vary based on the circumstance of the eviction.
For Non-Payment of Rent – The court has provided a filing package which you can download on this webpage (click “Eviction Proceedings” to access the forms).
For All Other Eviction Reasons – Request forms by contacting a clerk’s office in the county where the property is located.
Note: Make photocopies of your paperwork after they have been completed.
Step 4 – File Forms With Clerk
Visit a clerk’s office in the county where the rental unit is located. File your forms with the clerk and pay the processing fee; an eviction lawsuit for non-payment of rent will cost $166. All other filing rates can be obtained from the clerk. After filing, the clerk will provide you with completed copies of the Summons and Complaint forms.
Step 5 – Serve Summons and Complaint
Both the Summons and Complaint forms must be served to the tenant. This process informs the tenant that an eviction lawsuit has been filed against them and that they must respond within a specific period. If the eviction is for non-payment of rent or illegal drug activity, the tenant must answer no more than twelve (12) days after being served. In all other cases, the tenant will have twenty (20) days to respond to the complaint.
Serve the Summons and Complaint to the tenant using the same procedure as described in step 2. If the tenant fails to respond within the fixed period, a default judgment will be made in your favor permitting you to assume possession of the dwelling.
Step 6 – Attend Trial
A trial date will be set after the Summons and Complaint have been served to the tenant. At this time, both parties will have the opportunity to present their cases before a judge. Prepare for your trial by consulting with your witnesses (if any) and gathering all applicable documentation. Next, attend your trial and present your case. The judge will assess the information submitted by both parties before making a verdict.
Step 7 – Judgement on Eviction
If the judge rules in your favor, or if the tenant fails to appear in court, a Writ of Restitution will be issued indicating your right to possession of the dwelling and any court fees or legal expenses to which you are entitled. The tenant will then be required to vacate the residence and remove their belongings. In some cases, the judge may give the tenant several days before requiring them to leave.
Step 8 – Remove Tenant (If Necessary)
If the tenant continues to possess the dwelling past the allowed period, the sheriff will have authorization to forcibly remove the individual from the premises and store their belongings at their own expense. If the tenant takes no action to claim their property, you are permitted to deal with their belongings as you so desire.