What is Ejectment?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 February 2020
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Ejectment is a legal term used to describe the action of recovering the possession of land by forcing a tenant or trespasser to vacate the premises. The terminology was utilized in time past to replace what were known as the Real Actions, or the regulations and laws that related to controlling the title to a piece of land. While the term is still used in many parts of the world, this type of legal action is often known today as eviction.

The essentials of ejectment involve taking legal steps to order the removal of a tenant or trespasser who does not have the legal right to remain in possession of a property owned by another individual or entity. For example, if a tenant defaults on his or her commitment to tender rental payments in accordance with the terms of a lease agreement, the owner of the property can declare that tenant to be in default. At that point, the owner will request that the tenant vacate the premises. Should the tenant refuse to do so, the owner will then seek the support of the local courts to issue what is known as an order of ejectment. If so ordered, local law enforcement will carry out the ejectment in accordance with any provisions put in place by the issuing court.


Landowners may also utilize ejectment as a means of removing trespassers from a piece of property. As with a tenant who defaults on a lease, the owner will typically provide the trespassers with the opportunity to leave voluntarily. Should they fail to do so, the owner seeks help from the courts, who assess the situation and order local law enforcement to remove or eject the trespassers by a certain date and time. A notice of ejectment is supplied to the tenant or trespasser, and if he or she does not voluntarily leave the premises by that date, law enforcement officers oversee the physical removal of both the individual and any personal belongings that may be found on the property.

The actual process of ejectment must be structured in accordance with the laws and regulations that are part of the common law in the jurisdiction where the property is located. Since those laws may vary significantly from one jurisdiction to the next, landowners should consult with legal counsel when faced with the need to forcibly remove an unauthorized person or persons from a piece of property. In some areas, the process of ejectment can be managed in a very short period. At other times, the process may be somewhat lengthy and create a great deal of expense for the landowner.


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