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The Reasons You Can (and Can’t) Evict a Tenant

Eviction Notice in an EnvelopeKnowing when and how to evict a tenant is one of many factors that go into being an effective landlord. If you’re inexperienced with the eviction process or are unclear about when (and when not) to evict a renter, continue reading! We’ll discuss the most frequent causes landlords evict tenants in this blog post, as well as the steps involved in the eviction process.

Understanding Just Cause

Among the first things all Jamaica Plain property managers should know is that eviction is a legal process requiring a court order to eject a tenant from your property. Simply changing the locks or throwing the renter’s belongings on the curb cannot be done. These two actions would violate your tenant’s rights.

To evict a tenant, you must have “just cause,” as defined by the law. If you have just cause to evict a renter, it means you have a legal reason to do so, such as nonpayment of rent, property damage, or breaching the lease terms. You cannot lawfully evict a tenant unless you already have just cause.

Reasons You Can Evict

Not paying rent is certainly one of the most common reasons landlords evict their tenants. If your tenant does not pay their rent on time, you can issue them formal notice that they have a set number of days to pay or vacate the property, as required by state law. You can then file for eviction if the renter does not comply. Remember to keep to the terms of your contract of lease and all applicable laws both state and local.

Damage to property is another common factor for eviction. You can give your tenant a formal notice to repair the damage or vacate if they have caused serious damage to the property beyond usual wear and tear. Noncompliance by the tenant means you are within your rights to file for eviction.

Additionally, you may evict a renter for violating other lease provisions. For instance, if your renter has an animal and your lease does not allow animals, you can serve a formal notice to leave the property or remove the animal. Refusal on the tenant’s part to cooperate means you may legally file for eviction. The same holds true for all other lease-contract terms.

Reasons You Can’t Evict

Additionally, there are a few reasons why you cannot evict a renter, even though they have committed an act that would justify eviction. For example, you cannot legally evict a tenant just because they asked for fixes to the property or objected to the rental unit’s condition. Additionally, you are prohibited from evicting a renter on the basis of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial situation, or disability. These shielded classes cannot lawfully be used as a reason for eviction, and attempting to do so may result in a discrimination lawsuit.

The Eviction Process

If you wind up in the unfortunate situation of needing to remove a renter, there are some actions you will need to perform. The first thing to do is give formal notification to the tenant explaining the purpose for the eviction and the timeframe by which they must leave the property. After that, you’ll need to file an eviction petition with the court and the tenant will be notified. A default judgment might be obtained in your favor if the renter does not appear at their court date. Finally, you can have the legal authorities in your location forcibly evict the renter if he or she refuses to vacate.

While evicting a tenant is never a pleasant decision, it is occasionally required in certain circumstances. Eviction is a painful procedure, and knowing why you can (and can’t) do it will help you deal with the hardship of these situations.

You may need to talk to a property management professional if you are at risk of being evicted. Contact Real Property Management Boston to speak to a local rental property professional today at 617-522-0099.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.