Odd Situations That Can Lead to Eviction

Written on Wednesday April 24, 2019 by Bob Hinrichs

For most individuals, it’s common knowledge that a landlord can evict their tenant for the typical things. Everyone always thinks that means the tenant hasn’t paid rent. If they keep paying rent, they get to stay in the house. However, not everyone knows that there are other justifiable reasons for a landlord to evict their tenant.

For starters, landlords cannot simply make a tenant leave because they don’t like them or because they feel like it. Evicting a tenant is a serious matter that requires various legal steps. If you’re wondering whether certain tenant behavior or odd situations would allow for eviction, keep reading.

Odd Situations for Legal Eviction

As a disclaimer, this list is not inclusive of EVERY reason for eviction, but it is fairly thorough and should give you more insight. Here are a few more examples of lease violations you may not have thought of.

Lease Violations

  • Though it’s a seemingly small violation, having pets in a rental that specifically forbids them in the lease can lead to eviction. This is also true if the lease allows pets, but you fail to report them to your landlord or pay required pet rent. What does the lease say? That’s always the answer!
  • Unnamed tenants living in the property is also a lease violation. Typically, any legal adults who use the dwelling as their primary residence need to be listed on the lease. Failure to comply with that rule can lead to eviction as well.
  • When a landlord makes it clear to their tenant in the lease that smoking isn’t allowed in the property, but the tenant does it anyways, they are in clear violation of the lease.

There are a few other actions tenants should avoid to prevent their landlord from taking steps to evict them.

Tenant Actions

  • If a tenant prevents the landlord from having reasonable entry into the property for inspections, repairs, or showings, this can be an offense that would allow landlords to take action.
  • This should be an obvious no-brainer, but partaking in illegal activity within the property (whether it be your specific unit or any common area) is CLEAR grounds for eviction. This illegal activity could include actions as serious as selling/using drugs or as seemingly harmless as running a bakery out of your kitchen. If you’re thinking about starting a bakery in your rental, maybe think again!
  • Causing disturbances to other tenants (and prohibiting enjoyment of their space) on a regular basis can also be a risk for removal. We’ve all had annoying neighbors now and then. Usually, disturbances need to be somewhat regular for the landlord to be able to take action. For example, a one-time holiday party with loud music isn’t a good reason for eviction. However, what happens if this same neighbor throws a loud party every week? It’s interfering in other tenants’ ability to reasonably enjoy their space, so an eviction could be very appropriate. 

What’s that Smell…?

On a similar note, unpleasant odors can be considered neighborhood annoyances and might be worthy of eviction. “Neighbor disturbances” can also include unsafe practices such as leaving candles or a fireplace running unattended all day. This obviously increases chances of a fire and causes potential harm to other renters.

In good news: if a tenant avoids these behaviors, they have less risk of being forcibly removed from the property. The bad news is that even if they are the perfect tenant, there are still a other reasons for eviction. Some of these depend on city and state rules. 

Odd Locations-Specific Situations

  • In San Francisco, landlords can evict tenants so they can move themselves or for a family member to move in! There are some limitations in the case of evicting tenants for a family member to move in though. For it to be legal in the aforementioned jurisdiction, the landlord must also live in the same building. It may seem unfair, but it’s a completely legal reason for evicting a tenant.
  • To go along with that, in some states, the landlord can evict a tenant to open up a dwelling for their resident/building manager if they so choose.
  • If there are health or safety hazards that need to be remedied (such as a high presence of lead or asbestos), it’s perfectly acceptable for the landlord to remove the tenant so these corrections can be made for future renters. In some places, like in Washington D.C., landlords can also evict even if these hazards aren’t present. An example: they just want to remodel the property, but can’t safely do that with a tenant living there. 

Wrapping Up

It’s important to be clear that a landlord cannot evict a tenant just because they want to sell their property. If they sell, the lease terms will transfer to the new owner. It’s then up to the new owner to decide whether or not they will allow renters to renew their lease.

As you can see, there are MANY reasons to evict a tenant from a property. They may not all seem fair or just, but in some places that’s just how it works. As a tenant, you should do everything on your end to be sure you’re following the lease terms and not setting yourself up for trouble. At the end of the day, even if you’re a perfect tenant, there are still rare circumstances in which you may have to leave your home.

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