Can a landlord evict you for no reason? It’s a common question, one that nearly every tenant has wondered at some point. If you’re currently in a rental agreement and you’re concerned about a surprise eviction, you can breathe a little easier knowing that a landlord can’t kick you out for no reason.
Eviction is a legal process, and if a landlord wants to evict you, they must get the action approved in court, meaning they’ll need a legally sound reason to force you out of the property.
That being said, the legal reasons a landlord can evict a tenant are perhaps broader than you might think. Below we’ll take a closer look at the eviction process and some of the reasons that a landlord can evict you.
Understanding the Eviction Process
While it’s good to know that there’s some protection against unscrupulous landlords who might be wondering: “Can you evict someone for no reason?” That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of the reasons for eviction and how the general process works (though it varies from state to state). In general:
- Your lease will be terminated with proper notice, as set out by your state — this could be anywhere from 7 days to 30.
- If you do not vacate the property upon the termination of your lease (which, if you do not think the termination is valid, you likely would not), an action will be filed with the local eviction court.
- There will be a hearing in which both you and your landlord will state your claims. If a judge finds that there is no legal backing for an eviction, the case will be closed in your favor, and the process will end here. Otherwise, a formal date will be set under which you must vacate the property, and the sheriff will be notified. Usually, the locks are changed on the set eviction day.
Reasons for Eviction
As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to the question, “Can a landlord kick you out for no reason,” the answer is a definitive “No.” Not even if they’ve found someone who will pay more money. But there are legal reasons for eviction that can be utilized. As always, make sure to read the small print in your lease agreement to make sure you remain compliant in all areas of your individual agreement.
Typically, however, there are a few general reasons that can be applied to almost all situations:
- Lease ends: Once the rental agreement has ended, the landlord is free not to renew the lease.
- Non-payment or incomplete payment of rent: Failure to pay your rent in full is the quickest and easiest way to get evicted from a property.
- Illegal activity on the property: This can include guns, drugs, gambling, or even legitimate but non-zoned businesses.
- Committing any type of domestic violence: Domestic assault, even harassment, can be legal grounds for eviction.
- Failure to comply with health and safety standards: If you allow the property to accumulate excessive trash or attract rodents, a landlord may be forced to remove you
- Violating a term in the lease: Subleasing, in particular, can draw the ire of a landlord and lead to you searching for another place to live.
- Noise complaints from other tenants: Ignoring the noise ordinance or otherwise being disrespectful or offensive may put you in violation of your agreement.
- Unauthorized pets: You can try to hide the presence of your cat, but if a landlord finds one, and it is against the lease, you’re at risk for eviction.
- Excessive property damage: Normal wear-and-tear is expected, but excessive damage to the property won’t be tolerated by many landlords.
If you believe that you are being wrongly evicted, it’s important to seek legal advice from experts in eviction law and fight the proceedings in court. Again, you can’t evict someone for no reason. But if your landlord’s reason for eviction is found to stand in court, it will be your responsibility to vacate the property by the assigned eviction date.
And that’s where eviction moving specialists like Bennett Movers can be a lifesaver. If you live in New York or New Jersey, Bennett Movers can help you vacate the property quickly and affordably. In addition to helping you move, we can also help you file the necessary eviction paperwork and obtain short-term storage for your belongings while you search for a new place to live.
If you are undergoing the eviction process or think that you may be evicted soon, contact us to learn more about Bennett Movers and how we can assist you.