It’s not uncommon for landlords to have troublesome tenants that they need to get rid of. That being said, evicting a tenant comes with many questions… One of the most common is “where do I start?” The first action you should take to initiate the eviction process as a landlord is to deliver an eviction notice to the tenant. Throughout the remainder of this article, you’ll learn what to include in an eviction notice. These components are required by law and will give you the best chance of winning in court (if it comes to that).
Key dates are one of the most important aspects to include in your eviction notice. While it can be helpful to document the lease start and end dates, the ones you must include are:
- The date the eviction notice is being issued.
- The deadline by which the tenant needs to remedy the issue at hand to avoid legal eviction.
The exact deadline is up to your discretion so long as you follow local and state minimums. Depending on the offense, they will have a varied amount of time to fix the issue before they can be forced to move out. For instance, late rent may carry a lesser deadline than something like having a forbidden pet. Be as specific as possible with your deadline by providing a day, month, year, and time. This will eliminate any miscommunications or discrepancies.
There are two types of notices that allow for the chance to remedy – pay or quit, and cure or quit. Pay or quit eviction notices are used in the instance of delinquent rent. Whereas cure or quit notices are used in the instance of a tenant lease violation. In some circumstances, landlords can also use an unconditional quit notice. This means there is no chance given to the tenant to fix the situation. Even in these situations, a deadline for their move must be given.
Explanation of the Issue
You need to be very clear about what your tenant has done wrong to have received this eviction notice. Describe it in detail and cite the lease by providing a copy of the section they are violating. For example, if they are late on rent, explain the exact amount they owe. Be sure to break down how many payments they’ve missed in addition to any late fees they’ve incurred. Then, provide a copy of the section of the lease that outlines the rent due date as well as any late fees they agreed to when they signed.
It pays to be very thorough! In addition to providing a copy of the section, also refer to its position in the lease. If it has a subheading, heading, or specific number that corresponds to it, make that clear so they’re able to reference their own copy. Keep a copy of the eviction notice for your own records as it will be useful in court.
Explanation of the Remedy
At this point, your notice explained to your tenant what the issue is and when to fix it by. Go one step further and describe exactly what they need to do to remedy it. For instance, if they’re two months late on rent, can they pay one month to catch up? Or do they have to pay both months and certain late fees by the proposed deadline? If they have to get rid of their dog or an unauthorized roommate, is there a certain inspection they have to pass in order to be cleared of the issue? Be very clear to avoid a tenant claiming they weren’t sure. In these directions, include contact information so they have no trouble getting ahold of you for questions or payment.
While eviction notices are pretty easy to draft, a sample can be found here. Once your eviction notice contains all the necessary components discussed above, your best move is to send it via certified mail. Hand delivery and regular mail are still perfectly legal. However, certified mail gives you the best chance to prove it was received by your tenant because it requires a signature upon delivery. In other words, they won’t be able to deny they got your notice in court. Also, certain state and local government require different types of delivery. Make sure you abide by the local rules! Hopefully, you don’t have to go through the eviction process often. At least you can now be more confident about how to evict someone if the need arises.