Aug 6, 2017 | Landlord Resources

What are the Steps to Evict a Tenant?

As a landlord you hope to never see the day that you have to evict a tenant. But, just in case, it’s important to understand what are the steps to evict a tenant.

The 6 Steps to Evict a Tenant:

  1. Make sure that you have legal grounds to evict the tenant
  2. Issue a notice to the tenant
  3. Give the tenant an opportunity to remedy the violation
  4. File an Unlawful Detainer Complaint at the court
  5. Notice to Vacate
  6. Evict the Tenant

Evictions can be a lengthy and costly process. It is advised to try to resolve the issue with the tenant and follow these steps as a last resort.

Let’s get started!

What are the steps to evict a tenant?

Step One: Make sure that you have legal grounds to evict the tenant

Without legal grounds to evict the tenant you will not be able to obtain the necessary documents to evict the tenant.

  • Examples of Legal Ground:
    • Failure to pay rent on time
    • Acts in contradiction of any provision in the lease agreement
    • Causes damage to the property
    • Uses the property for anything other than what is agreed upon in the lease agreement
    • Continuously being a nuisance to other neighbors and/or the community
    • Tenant is convicted by a court of law

Important Note:

Avoid irrational behavior when trying to resolve the issue with your tenant as it may provide the tenant to have legal cause of action against you.

Step Two: Issue a notice to the tenant

The second step is to contact the tenant personally with a notice of eviction. This should be another attempt to resolve the issue without having to proceed with any legal action.

The notice must inform the tenant of their violation, according to the lease agreement. The notice must provide the tenant with a reasonable time to correct the violation. The notice must then be served to the tenant.

If the tenant avoids being served, the court allows for alternative methods of service such as serving the notice to any person who is at the residence and/or place of business who is above the age of 18.

Step Three: Give the tenant the opportunity to remedy the violation

Once you have issued the notice, allow some time for the tenant to remedy the situation.

If you and the tenant are able to resolve the situation without legal action you will both save time and money.

If you are unable to reach a resolution by the provided date on the given notice, proceed to step four.

Step Four: File an Unlawful Detainer Complaint at the court

The 4th step in what are the steps to evict a tenant is to file an Unlawful Detainer Complaint.

The Unlawful Detainer Complaint will need to be obtained at the courthouse. You will fill out the form and file it with the court.

The court will then issue a summons to the tenant affording them 5 days to respond. Once the response is received, a date will be set by you, the landlord, and the  matter will be heard before a judge.

The judge will then make a decision based on the evidence provided by each party.

Should the tenant fail to respond in 5 days the court will then rule in favor of an eviction and the tenant will be ordered to evict by the court.

Step Five: Notice to Vacate

Once the court has ruled in favor of you, the landlord, the sheriff will serve the tenant a Notice to Vacate.

This notice allows 5 days for the tenant to vacate the premises once it is served.

If the tenant still refuses to leave after the 5 days then the sheriff can lock the tenant out.

Step Six: Evict the Tenant

The 6th and final step in what are the steps to evict a tenant is to evict the tenant.

At this point the tenant should have left the property. Whether they willingly leave after the notice or are locked out by the sheriff.

Once they have left, it is possible the tenant has left some property behind. In this case, their items can be sold or disposed of.

Important Note:

In some circumstances the landlord has a duty to give the tenant notice of any of the remaining items before taking action.

Check with the courthouse before selling or disposing of their property.

These 6 steps to evict a tenant hopefully answers all of your questions behind what are the steps to evict a tenant.


It is easier on both parties to try to resolve the issue first before taking any legal action.

We hope you never have to go through the eviction process but you may get to a point where you decide it isn’t worth these potential hassles of owning a rental.

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