|Landlord-Tenant Laws and other Relevant Information|
|With landlord-tenant laws being so extensive, it’s hard to know where to start, and who to turn to for help. With SmartFormz landlord-tenant resources below, you will not only understand all of the processes better, but you will be able to see why so many landlords turn to legal documents for reassurance. Click on the category below to view information you are interested in.
A landlord may evict a tenant if they:
Laws on eviction proceedings vary widely by state and are known as unlawful detainer lawsuits. Eviction laws are very detailed and must be followed precisely for the landlord to successfully evict someone. Most states have special restrictions on eviction that apply only to residential leases. These restrictions must be met very precisely before the landlord is permitted to evict a tenant. To find more information on state laws and eviction proceedings go to Landlord Association of America.
A Notice to Quit must be given to the tenant before starting an eviction proceeding. If the rent remains unpaid or other breaches go unsolved, and the tenant remains after the expiration of the period provided in the notice to quit, the landlord may then file a lawsuit. Normally a landlord cannot remove a tenant at the expiration of the notice period, they must first serve the tenant with the legal papers normally referred to as a summons or complaint. A hearing is usually held within a very short time.
At the eviction hearing, the tenant may present any appropriate defences, such as:
The tenant may also provide any evidence that the landlord wants to evict the tenant in retaliation for some action of the tenant, such as:
When or if the landlord wins the court case, the tenant is usually given a short period of time to move out before the landlord can begin proceedings to forcibly eject the tenant. If the tenant doesn’t voluntarily leave after the eviction lawsuit, the landlord can ask law enforcement officers to assist the landlord in completing the eviction process.
The landlord must not engage in any acts of self-help, such as changing the locks, removing the tenant’s belongings, turning off utilities or attempting to forcibly remove the tenant. Self-help is flatly outlawed, and in most states is a crime.
Different Types of Eviction Notices
If a landlord is wanting to evict a problematic tenant, there are a few different types of notices that must be given out to them.
Notice to Pay Rent or Quit:
This notice is used for non-payment of rent. It notifies the tenant that he or she must either pay the rent within a specified number of days (usually 3 or 5 days) or vacate the rental unit. If the tenant cannot pay, he or she will normally leave the rental unit. If the tenant does neither, then you can start the eviction process. If you accept a rental payment from the tenant after he or she has been served with this notice, the termination notice is cancelled for that rental period. You cannot continue an eviction after accepting payment.
To download your Notice to Pay or Quit, Click Here
Notice to Cure or Quit:
If the tenant violates a term of the lease or rental agreement, this notice must be sent to them since it gives him or her a chance to remedy the situation. Under the laws of most states, the tenant has a specified amount of time in which to correct or cure the violation. If the tenant fails to rectify the situation, you may begin eviction proceedings.
To download the Notice to Cure, Click Here
Unconditional Quit Notice:
This notice can only be used in a limited number of situations, which vary from state to state since it is the most detrimental. The notice orders the tenant to vacate the rental unit within the statutory period (usually 5 to 10 days) and does not provide a period in which the tenant can pay back rent or cure the violation. Under the law in most states, these notices are to be used only when the tenant has:
A lease is the legal agreement, or contract, between the landlord and tenant, which spells out both parties rights and responsibilities, and allows the tenant to use the property for a specified period of time. Also specified on the lease are the rules and regulations, the length of the tenancy, the rental amount, and all important terms and conditions.
The lease, aside from tenant screening, is the most crucial moment of the business relationship. At this time, when both parties discuss their concerns, obligations and anything else relevant. All points in the lease should be gone through together, putting extra emphasis on the most important topics. Always highlight the length of the lease, as well as, any underlying terms and conditions. Before turning over your valuable possession, make sure the tenant(s) understand the lease and agree to all aspects.
Terms To Include in a Lease
A lease agreement sets out the rules and regulations that landlords and tenants agree to follow in their business relationship. Important details include how long the tenant can occupy the property for and the amount of rent that will be due each month. Whether the lease agreement is as short as one page or longer than five, typed or handwritten, it must always cover the basic conditions of the tenancy. The most important are listed below.
Names of Tenants.
Limits on Occupancy.
Term of the Tenancy.
Repairs and Maintenance.
Deposits and Fees.
Entry to Rental Property.
Illegal Activity Restrictions.
Important rules and regulations covering parking and use of common areas should be specifically mentioned in the agreement as well.
After signing a lease, the tenant is technically the “owner” of the property. They are allowed to quietly enjoy the premises without interruption. For this reason, a landlord cannot enter the premises without authorization unless it is an emergency or to protect abandoned property. Unless the lease states otherwise, a landlord cannot enter without permission, even for investigate of repairs or to actually make repairs.
A tenant cannot withhold consent for a landlord to enter the premises to show the property to prospective renters or buyers. At any rate, it is advisable for a landlord to provide ample notice and give specific times before entering to make repairs or allow prospective renters or buyers to see the property.
To review our Notice to Enter, Click Here
Notice To Quit
Most states generally require a landlord to provide a “notice to quit” before the landlord can terminate the tenancy and begin the eviction proceedings. The notice must be in writing and contain complete information on landlords, tenants, the property, lease, reason for this notice and the date. Failure to follow the exact specifications may invalidate this notice. If it is a tenancy at will, the notice should provide at least 30 days advanced notice.
It is best to hand deliver notices to quit, though some states allow them to be mailed or left at the tenant’s residence. If they are mailed, the landlord should use certified mail to ensure the tenant has received it. During an eviction proceeding, a judge could dismiss the case if the landlord cannot prove the tenant has received the notice.
To review our Notice to Quit, Click Here
Notice To Vacate
If you have provided the tenant with a notice to quit, and they still refuse to pay rent or correct a violation, the only thing left to do and present them with a Notice to Vacate. This shows the tenant that they now have no choice but to leave the premises by the date mentioned. If they do not vacate, legal action will be taken.
To review our Notice to Quit, Click Here