The Top 7 Reasons for Evictions (and How to Avoid Them)

Did you know that eviction is one of the leading causes of homelessness in the United States? Hundreds of thousands of people are evicted from their homes every year, often leaving them nowhere to go. According to the Eviction Lab, in a typical year, landlords file 3.6 million eviction cases. Here's details guide to the seven most common reasons families get evicted.


What is Eviction?

Eviction is the legal process by which a tenant is removed from rental property by the landlord. In order to evict a tenant, the landlord must first give the tenant written notice to vacate. The time required for this notice varies depending on the property's state, but it is typically between three and 30 days.  


Once the notice period has expired, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court. If the landlord prevails in court, the tenant will be given a set time to vacate the property. If they fail to do so, they can be forcibly removed by law enforcement.  

Eviction is a serious matter that can affect a person's ability to rent housing in the future. As such, it should only be used as a last resort after all other failed attempts to resolve the issue.


1. The Tenant Has Not Paid the Rent

The landlord can begin eviction proceedings if a tenant does not pay rent. This is the most common reason for eviction and is also the most straightforward. In most states, the landlord must give the tenant a certain amount of time to catch up on the rent, usually three to five days. The landlord can file an eviction lawsuit if the tenant does not pay during this period.


2. The Tenant Has Violated the Terms of the Lease

When a tenant violates the lease terms, the landlord is allowed to file for eviction. The first step is to notify the tenant of their lease violation. This notice will state the violation and how the tenant can remedy it. If the tenant does not remedy the situation within the given timeframe, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court.  

An eviction hearing will be scheduled, and the landlord and tenant will have an opportunity to present their case. If the court favors the landlord, they will issue an eviction order, and the tenant will be required to vacate the property within a certain period.


3. The Tenant Has Damaged the Property

If a tenant has caused damage to the property, the landlord is allowed to file for eviction. The amount of damage must be significant, and it must have occurred through no fault of the landlord. For example, if the tenant has caused extensive water damage by leaving the taps running or if they have damaged walls or floors through carelessness, then the landlord may proceed with eviction.  

However, if the damage is minor or was caused by normal wear and tear, then the landlord does not have grounds for eviction. In all cases, it is important to consult a legal professional before taking action.


4. Criminal Activity by The Tenant

A landlord can file for eviction if the tenant has committed a criminal act. This is because the tenant has violated the terms of the lease agreement and has become a nuisance to other tenants in the building. The landlord must protect the property from damage and keep it safe for all tenants.

If the police are called to the property due to a disturbance, the landlord may be held liable if it is found that the tenant was responsible for the disturbance. In addition, if the tenant engages in illegal activity, such as drug dealing, the landlord may be held liable for any damages resulting from this activity. Other acts include prostitution or running a meth lab out of the rental unit.  

The landlord must show evidence of criminal activity, typically through law enforcement reports or witness testimony.


5. Domestic Violence by The Tenant  

Domestic violence by the tenant is a severe problem that can have devastating consequences for victims, their families, and their landlords. Although eviction is often seen as the landlord's only option in these situations, it is crucial to understand that other options are available.  

For example, the landlord may be able to work with the affected tenant to create a safety plan or provide referrals to support services. In some cases, the landlord may also be able to file for a restraining order on behalf of the tenant being victimized. By understanding all of the options available, landlords can play a crucial role in supporting domestic violence victims and helping keep their properties safe.


6. When the Tenant Is Not Living with The Normal Health and Safety Standards

Landlords must provide their tenants with a safe and habitable living environment. This includes maintaining the property by local health and safety codes and making repairs on time. When a tenant is not living up to these standards, the landlord is allowed to file for eviction.  

The landlord must first provide the tenant with written notice to begin eviction. This notice must state the specific violations and allow the tenant to remedy them. If the tenant does not take action to improve the situation, the landlord can then proceed with filing for eviction.  


7. If the Tenant Has an Unauthorized Pet

Under most state landlord-tenant laws, a tenant cannot have a pet on the property without the landlord's permission. If a tenant gets a pet without the landlord's consent, the landlord may be able to file for eviction.  

If the tenant does not remove the pet within the time frame specified in the notice, the landlord can file for eviction. In some cases, the landlord may waive the right to evict the tenant if the tenant agrees to pay a pet fee or get rid of the pet.


The Eviction Process-Steps Guide

The eviction process can be long and complicated, especially if you're unfamiliar with the law. To start the process, the landlord must first give the tenant a notice to vacate. This notice will state the reason for the eviction and give the tenant a certain number of days to move out. If the tenant does not comply with this notice, the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court.  

Once the lawsuit is filed, the court will issue a summons, requiring the tenant to appear for a hearing. If the tenant does not attend this hearing, they will be automatically evicted. However, if they do appear, they will be given a chance to explain their side of the story.  

If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, they will be issued an eviction order, requiring the Sheriff to remove the tenant from the property. The entire process can take several weeks or even months, so it's important to be prepared for a long battle if you're facing eviction.


What Is the Standard Time A Landlord Is Allowed to Give Tenants Before Moving Out?

The standard amount of notice a landlord can give tenants to move out varies depending on the situation. For example, if the tenant has been disruptive or has caused damage to the property, the landlord may give them a shorter notice period. In most cases, however, the landlord must give the tenant at least 30 days' notice to vacate the premises.  

This allows the tenant sufficient time to find another place to live and to arrange for their belongings to be moved. If the landlord does not give the tenant adequate notice, they may be liable for damages. As such, landlords must be familiar with their state's laws regarding eviction notices.


In order to avoid being one of the millions of people evicted each year, it is crucial to understand why people are typically evicted. The seven reasons for eviction above are all easily avoidable if you take the necessary precautions and plan. By understanding what causes evictions, you can take steps to ensure that you never have to go through the process yourself.

If you are a tenant and have been served with an eviction notice, there may still be time to remedy the situation and avoid eviction. Be sure to take action quickly and consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.

Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only. The provision of this material does not create an attorney-client relationship between the firm and the reader and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this newsletter are not a substitute for legal counsel. Do not take action in reliance on the contents of this material without seeking the advice of counsel.

The information contained in this blog may or may not reflect the most current legal developments. Accordingly, information in this blog is not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete, and should not be relied upon as such. Readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.

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