No matter how horrible a tenant might be, a landlord must follow the procedures in the state where the rental property is located in order to evict him. It is illegal for a landlord to resort to self-help remedies such as changing locks or shutting off utilities or to do anything else to circumvent the legal eviction process.
It is critical that a landlord know and understand the landlord-tenant laws in his state. If a landlord wrongfully evicts a tenant, he may be subject to very severe penalties. Moreover, if he doesn't follow all legal requirements to the letter, an eviction case will be dismissed.
There are generally three types of eviction notices or letters which are commonly used in residential evictions: 1) the pay or quit notice, 2) the cure or quit notice, and 3) the unconditional quit notice.
State and local law also governs the form eviction notices must take and the type of information which must be included. Other information which a landlord may be required to place in an eviction notice includes:
The name of each tenant who signed the lease;
Additionally, state law may require that certain recitals be included in an eviction notice. If the eviction notice does not include all the required information and language, the eviction case will most likely be dismissed.
In many states, an eviction notice may be served on the tenant by nailing or tacking it to the front door. You should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney to determine what the proper procedure is in your state.
Drafting eviction notices is one service a landlord-tenant attorney can perform for a landlord. By having an experienced landlord-tenant attorney handle drafting eviction notices rather than doing it yourself or using DIY forms found on the Internet or in office supply stores, you eliminate the possibility that the forms are incomplete, incorrect or outdated.
Rather than having the attorney draft each and every eviction notice, a landlord can take the eviction notices drafted by the landlord-tenant attorney and use them as masters, simply filling in the blanks with the required information. If you choose to take this route, you should have your attorney review the masters each year and amend them if there have been any changes in the law.
Although having an attorney draft and periodically review your eviction notices will cost you some money, it's an investment in your landlord business you really can't afford not to make. And it will cost you a lot less than having one eviction case dismissed because you unused an improper eviction notice.