As a landlord, you know that the decision to evict a tenant isn’t one to be taken lightly. Not only can it be highly stressful and complicated, but if done improperly or without following protocol—it could leave you open to legal action.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide for landlords on understanding 13 common and legally-sanctioned reasons for eviction. We’ll provide concrete advice on familiarizing yourself with the eviction process, detailing best practices to consider, as well as practical tips on how to handle any roadblocks along the way!

1. Failure to Pay Rent

As a landlord, you may have acceptable reasons for not paying rent, whether it be a financial hardship, a tenant in between jobs, etc. But, more than likely, failure to pay rent is reason enough for an apartment eviction.

2. Consistently Late Rent Payments

If your tenant is consistently paying rent late, it can be burdensome. Thankfully, landlords are protected, as late payments breach the lease agreement and fall under the umbrella of legal reasons to evict a tenant.

3. Not Adhering to Health or Safety Standards

Other legal reasons for eviction include your tenant not adhering to health or safety standards in the lease agreement. In these circumstances, evicting a tenant may benefit you financially and the health and safety of your surrounding tenants.

4. Illegal Activities

Any criminal activity provides landlords with enough reasons to evict a tenant. Illegal activities can include selling drugs, use of controlled substances, and unlawful possession or use of a firearm.

5. Housing Unauthorized Tenants

Outline guest policies in the renter agreement. Specifying that no one can move into the property without the landlord’s prior consent is essential. In addition, if an unauthorized tenant is living on your property, you may have the right to evict.

6. Unauthorized Subletting

The lease agreement terms should detail the rules about subletting or subleasing the apartment. Any unauthorized subletting can be a lease violation and, therefore, cause for eviction.

7. Causing Significant Property Damage

While all landlords expect a certain level of wear and tear on their property, any egregious property damage can be a term for eviction. Therefore, before you allow a tenant to renew a lease, do a walkthrough to ensure no significant property damage.

8. Unauthorized Pets

Similar to housing unauthorized tenants, any unauthorized pets in an apartment can also be a cause for eviction. So again, the pet policy should be explicitly detailed in the lease agreement to not allow for any gray area.

9. Refusing to Vacate

Tenants that refuse to vacate your property after the lease up also provide landlords with reasons for eviction. To help ensure these issues don’t arise, many landlords give notices to renters well before the expiration of their lease as a reminder to renew or get ready to move out.

10. Domestic Violence

Though many landlords aren’t aware, tenants committing domestic violence can also be evicted at any time. Domestic violence may include intimidation, endangerment, custodial interference, kidnapping, sexual harassment, and other hurtful actions.

11. Property Rehabilitation

If a landlord is interested in making necessary property rehabilitation efforts and the tenant does not comply, the landlord may be entitled to evict the tenant. For example, a landlord should be able to enter the property to update plumbing or electric systems with proper notice.

12. Property Demolition

Like property rehabilitation, a landlord can demolish the property to abide by local legislation and health and safety regulations. If they are required to destroy property, tenants must vacate. Any difficulties in getting a tenant to vacate the property for demolition can result in eviction.

13. Sale of Property

Lastly, a tenant must vacate the premises if a landlord has sold the property. Again, the terms of how this is handled will be dictated by local jurisdiction, but failure to vacate the property can result in eviction.

How to Evict a Tenant

Another question we see from landlords fairly often is, “Do you need an eviction notice?” Yes. A 10-minute eviction doesn’t exist. While it varies by state, here’s an idea of what you can expect from the eviction process:

  • The landlord is responsible for providing an eviction notice officially terminating the lease and detailing the reason for eviction. (The standard notice is 30 days)
  • If the tenant doesn’t vacate the property, the landlord can file an action with an eviction court.
  • At the hearing, the landlord explains the grounds for evicting a tenant to a judge.
  • If the landlord is successful in court, they will utilize local law enforcement on eviction day to expedite the process.

As you can see, if you have your legal cause for eviction, you can get them out quickly.