In most states, there is a law that allows a landlord to evict a tenant for conducting illegal operations on or near the property, including the sale or use of drugs. This type of eviction can be carried out quickly, often with only three days notice, and does not normally require that the tenant be convicted of a crime. There are safeguards to protect tenants, so if you intend to evict someone for selling drugs, it is important that you can show evidence of such activity.
Document all suspicious activity on or near the property. Depending on the laws of your jurisdiction, tenants who are using or selling drugs within 300 feet of the property are subject to eviction. Write down how many people enter and leave the rental, and include the times and dates. Also keep a record of any disturbances reported by the neighbors or problems involving the police. These records may not be enough to prove illegal activity, but this information often will be adequate to show that the problem tenants have interfered with the neighbors’ rights to quiet enjoyment of their homes, a situation that can also lead to eviction.
Serve the tenant with a notice to quit or vacate the property. This notice must provide the tenant with three full days to move out, and in most cases the day the notice is served and the day the tenant must be out don’t count as part of the three days This means that a notice for a tenant to leave by June 15 must be served by June 11. Procedures for serving this notice vary, but you may need to have it served by a marshal, post it prominently on the door of the residence, or send it by certified mail. Be sure the notice has all of the required information, including the name of each adult resident, the address and the reason for the eviction.
File any required documentation, such as an unlawful detainer, with the appropriate court in the city or county where the property is located. In most cases you must get permission from the court before you can proceed with an eviction, but you typically must have served a notice to quit before proceeding. Fill out the form completely and include any supporting information required at the time you file. Serve the tenant with a copy of this filing.
Attend the hearing on the date set by the court. Bring all of your proof, as well as any witnesses you may have. If the judge decides in your favor, you will be granted an Order of Possession or similar document, and the tenant may be granted additional time to move. On the date specified by the court, the sheriff’s department will escort the tenant from the property, if he has not already vacated it. The sheriff may or may not require you to be present at that time, depending on the policies of your jurisdiction.
Items you will need
- Documentation of illegal or suspicious activity
- Notice to vacate property
- Unlawful detainer form
- If the eviction is complicated or difficult, consider hiring a lawyer to represent you. An experienced lawyer understands the process and can make things go much more smoothly both in and out of court.
- Failure to follow the process can result in the tenant being allowed to remain in the property. The tenant may also file a suit against you if you make claims regarding the sale of drugs without any supporting evidence. In such cases, you can be required to pay damages to the tenant.
- Aurora Illinois: Frequently Asked Questions about Eviction Procedures in Illinois
- New Mexico Legal Aid: Obligations of Landlords and Tenants
- Minnesota Judicial Branch: Evict a Tenant
- Utah State Courts: Landlord – Tenant
- State of Connecticut Judicial Branch: A Landlord’s Guide to Summary Process (Eviction)
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