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How do I Write a Tenant Eviction Letter?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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Eviction is the legal process in which a judge orders a tenant to leave his rental home so that the landlord can reclaim it for her own use and purposes. Eviction laws may include various protections for a tenant whose landlord wishes to evict him. In many countries, including most of the United States as well as the United Kingdom, landlords are legally required to send a tenant an eviction letter before filing eviction papers in court. A landlord needs to write a tenant eviction letter in accordance with any applicable eviction law, which may include stating the reasons for the eviction, the time frame in which the tenant must leave to avoid formal eviction proceedings, and, in some cases, what a tenant can do to avoid eviction.

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Eviction laws can be very precise about what must be included in a tenant eviction letter. In general, eviction letters should be clearly written or printed so that the tenant can actually read the letter. The letter should also state the grounds for eviction. This is important because the grounds for eviction may determine other items that must be included in the letter. For example, in some places the grounds for eviction determine the length of time that a landlord must give a tenant between the time the eviction letter is served and when the tenant actually needs to be out to prevent formal eviction proceedings. The law may also require landlords to notify tenants that they may be given a second chance to avoid eviction if they complete a certain action, such as paying rent or repairing damage, within a specific time frame. Landlords should also check the law about the appropriate way of serving a tenant with a letter, which may include handing it to a tenant, sending it via certified mail, or tacking it to the tenant's door.

Landlords and tenants should also understand that a tenant eviction letter does not in many places constitute a legal eviction. For example, in many parts of the United States, a tenant eviction letter, often called a quit notice, is the first stage of the eviction process, but the tenant is under no legal obligation to leave until the landlord has proven his case for eviction in court. Just because the landlord has provided the tenant with an eviction letter does not mean that the landlord can do anything, including turning off utilities or removing the tenant's belongings, to force the tenant from his or her home.

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KoiwiGal
Post 3

I once got a letter for eviction sent to me while I was on vacation and I only just managed to get home in time to stop my stuff from being thrown out of the apartment.

So one thing I would recommend is making sure that you have contact details for your tenants even when they aren't going to be home. In my case it was the fault of my roommate who decided to leave without telling me and didn't clean up after himself.

indigomoth
Post 2

@Iluviaporos - I think in some cases you can't be non-specific because some places will require the tenant's notice to vacate to mention the reason they are being asked to leave.

If you are worried about being too personal, or saying something that might have legal consequences down the road, it might be worth taking the issue to a lawyer, just to run it by them and see what they think.

There is nothing worse than being dragged through the courts by a bad tenant and having a property problem dragged out by months or even years. It's better to make sure that you get it right in the first place.

At the very least, make sure you wait a few days after writing the letter to read it again and make sure that it doesn't have anything emotional in it.

lluviaporos
Post 1

One thing I would recommend is to try and keep the letter as non-specific and non-confrontational as possible. It can be very tempting, if you're trying to evict people who have caused you a lot of trouble, to vent your spleen when you are evicting them. But that can lead to all kinds of trouble. The letter is essentially a legal document, so keep it as impersonal as possible.

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