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Questions and Answers About Evictions

Question: What is an eviction?

Answer: An eviction is a legal process used for the expulsion of a tenant by a property owner, landlord, or someone acting under a paramount title. To evict is to compel a tenant to permanently vacate a property.

Question: What are some reasons that a landlord can use to justify an eviction of a tenant?

Answer: There are several reasons that may warrant eviction proceedings against a tenant, notably the failure to pay rent. Other reasons includes creating a nuisance, destruction of the property, abandonment of the premises, breach of lease or rental agreement, and the expiration of the agreement.

Question: If a property is sold, can a landlord have a tenant evicted?

Answer: It is not uncommon for an owner of a rental property to sell it. When this happens, in many cases, the new owner may require the property to be vacant at the close of escrow, especially if it is a single family home or a smaller number of units such as a duplex or triplex.

Question: If a property is sold and the tenant is required to move before his lease or rental contract has ended, does the landlord bear any responsibility for paying the tenant's moving expenses?

Answer: In some jurisdictions, state and local laws do require a landlord to pay for all, or a portion of, a tenants relocation costs. In such cases, the tenant should know his, or her, rights. The tenant should check city and county ordinances and/or seek legal advice.

Question: What is an unlawful detainer and how does it affect a tenant?

Answer: An unlawful detainer is the legal action brought about by a landlord to obtain an eviction of a tenant in an accelerated manner for recovery of possession. It permits the landlord to recover possession and use of real property from a tenant who is wrongfully in possession.

Question: Are there rules and regulations that a landlord must follow when evicting a tenant.

Answer: Each state, and local jurisdiction, prescribe laws and ordinances that a landlord must follow when evicting a tenant. There is generally a standardized statutory path of action that is required by law which include notices, summons, and other lawful actions.

Question: Will an eviction hurt my credit score?

Answer: Although an eviction may not have a direct negative impact on your credit score, other issues surrounding the eviction might. For instance, a landlord can report any money you owe him, or if there is a lawsuit filed against you, it may be given to a collection agency for collection which can be reported to a credit bureau.

Question: Can a landlord or a landlord's representative physically evict a tenant from his property?

Answer: No. Only a sheriff or sheriff's deputy can physically evict a tenant and only after the tenant is given notice that an eviction order has been issued. In most states, a tenant must be given at least twenty-four hours notice before the sheriff arrives to perform the actual eviction.

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