How to Evict a Tenant (Process)
A landlord can seek to evict a tenant when there are reasonable grounds to do so (e.g., late rent, illegal activity, failure to vacate after the lease expires). The landlord will need to give the tenant a notice period in which they must either vacate or cure their tenancy unless the situation cannot be remedied. In cases where the tenant does not adhere to the notice requirements, the landlord can bring the action to court by filing a complaint. If the court grants the eviction request, the tenant will be required to forfeit possession of the dwelling and vacate.
Step 1 – Choose the Proper Eviction Notice
Before the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court, they will need to draft a written notice for the tenant summarizing the eviction details. The notice will inform the tenant of the reason they are being evicted and the period in which they have to comply. There are several notices available for download below; the landlord must fill out the form that corresponds with their eviction circumstance:
30-Day Notice to Quit – Used to terminate an at-will rental agreement (tenancy without a fixed ending date, usually month-to-month).
7-Day Notice to Pay Quit – Used to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent.
7-Day Notice to Quit – Used to evict a tenant for willfully or negligently causing any the following: health hazards, property damage, physical injury to an individual or threat thereof.
24-Hour Notice to Quit – Used to evict a tenant for unlawful drug activity conducted on the premises.
Notice to Comply or Quit – Used to evict a tenant for violating the lease.
Step 2 – Deliver the Notice
The completed eviction notice can be delivered to the tenant in person, by first class mail, or by leaving it with another resident of the dwelling who is above the age of eighteen (18) and who can be held responsible for providing the notice to the tenant.
Step 3 – File a Complaint
After the eviction notice is delivered to the tenant, they will have until the end of the final notice date to comply with the landlord’s terms. If the notice period expires and the tenant does not vacate or otherwise satisfy the terms, the landlord will need to file a Complaint to Recover Possession of Property and a Summons with the district court.
The landlord must print four (4) copies of the Complaint and Summons. If more than one (1) tenant is being evicted, there should be extra copies for each additional tenant. These items, along with a copy of the lease (if applicable) and eviction notice, must be filed with the court. The landlord can submit in person at a local courthouse, by mail, or online. There will be an initial $45 filing fee plus additional costs if the landlord seeks to recover money damages from the tenant.
Step 4 – Serve the Summons and Complaint
After the filings have been submitted, a clerk of the court will schedule a trial for the case. The clerk will mail copies of the eviction filings to the tenant and return the remaining documents to the landlord (a fee may be required). It will be the landlord’s responsibility to arrange to have these documents served to the tenant. A court-chosen or private process server must be hired for this purpose. The landlord must provide the process server with copies of the eviction filings as required and pay a service cost.
Note: Service must take place no less than three (3) days before the trial, not counting the date of service. The final day of this notice period cannot be a holiday, Saturday, or Sunday.
Step 5 – File Proof of Service
The court-chosen process server will file a proof of service document with the court. If the landlord hired a private process server, they should contact the server before the trail to collect the proof of service and file it themselves.
Step 6 – Plan for the Hearing
Before attending the trial, the landlord should gather copies of all supporting paperwork (e.g., lease, eviction notice, photographs, receipts) and consult with their witnesses (if any). Some courts may require the landlord to prepare a Judgement form and fill it out in the courtroom.
Step 7 – Attend Trial
The landlord should arrive early at the courthouse to be directed towards the proper courtroom. When the landlord’s case number is called, they must appear before the judge and present their evidence. The judge will assess the cases presented by both parties and issue a judgment. If the ruling is in favor of the landlord, the judge will require the tenant to vacate the premises within a prescribed number of days.
Step 8 – Remove Tenant (If Necessary)
If the tenant does not vacate within the designated timeframe, the landlord must file an Order of Eviction with the court. This document authorizes law enforcement to remove the tenant from the premises forcibly. A copy of the Order of Eviction must be served to the tenant before it is enforced.