When writing an eviction notice it is important to draft the letter properly -- and legally.
If you own a rental property, you know that even the most rigorous screening process can’t prevent the occasional bad tenant from slipping through. Moreover, even the most well-qualified tenant might have trouble paying the rent during tough economic times. When a tenant repeatedly violates a lease, you will need to know how to write an effective eviction notice.
Know the Law
As a responsible landlord, it is essential that you know the laws regarding tenant eviction in your state. If you attempt to evict someone in a manner that contradicts state law, you may be liable for damages, and your tenant may be allowed to remain on your property. Remember that if you have a month-to-month rental agreement in place with your tenant, you generally do not need to evict. A notice of termination is all that is required under such a lease agreement.
Drafting the Letter
- Review your lease agreement.
- Collect all written records of lease violations and related notices. Most states require that you provide the tenant with some kind of notice. Without written records, you may be opening yourself up to a civil lawsuit.
- Put the date of the letter on the upper left-hand corner of the page. This is important from a legal standpoint, as the eviction timetable will move forward from this date.
- Start the letter by informing the tenant that s/he is in violation of the lease. Make sure to include the date of the violation and reference to the specific provision in the lease agreement.
- Include steps (if available) that the tenant can take to avoid eviction, such as paying rent past due.
- Your letter should also include the eviction timetable. Check state laws regarding eviction timetables, and coincide your letter’s message.
- Sign the eviction letter and have it notarized by a notary public.
There are some things to pay attention to when you are drafting an eviction letter.
- Use professional language. DO NOT use abusive or insulting language under any circumstance!
- Never use the eviction letter to voice personal problems or grievances.
- Generally you cannot accept money from tenants that you are attempting to evict. Talk to your attorney about the specific laws in your state.
- Send the letter registered mail, and request a return receipt to ensure that you have proof that the tenant has received your letter.
Evicting the Tenant
Stay focused on the goal: removing a deadbeat tenant from your property. Do not confuse personal issues with professional concerns like eviction. Crafting the perfect eviction letter may not necessarily remove your tenant(s) from your property, but such a letter will cover you legally, ensuring that your former tenants cannot successfully sue you in retribution.